Runzler gets reassuring opinion, will avoid surgery

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Runzler gets reassuring opinion, will avoid surgery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Dan Runzlers return flight from Floridasure beat the fretful outbound leg.
After several days of mental turbulence, Runzler received good newsduring his consultation with Dr. James Andrews over the weekend in Pensacola,Fla. He only aggravated his latissimus dorsi muscle in a bullpen session andwont require surgery. He could be back in as little as four weeks.REWIND: Runzler flying to Florida for tests on lat muscle
It definitely put my head at ease, Runzler said. Hecompared the MRIs before and after and said it was just a small aggravation.Its not like I re-did it. He was very optimistic.Runzler tore his lat muscle in the final regular-season gamelast year. His intial bullpen sessions had gone well before he felt somethinggrab in the back of his shoulder near the armpit in his last session.The latissimus dorsi is a large muscle that extends down theback. Former San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy required surgery to repair histear. Andrews said Runzler wouldnt require a procedure, citing the fact thatPeavys muscle had retracted down his side.Mine didnt, Runzler said. He thinks some scar tissuepopped. So were going to concentrate on stretching it more and more so itdoesnt harden over. The strength tests were good and it feels good right now.Runzler will get on another flight to San Francisco, wherehell undergo a platelet-rich plasma treatment (P.R.P) in which blood iswithdrawn and spun to enrich its healing properties. Its the same procedurecatcher Eli Whiteside had on his right elbow in the offseason.Itll speed the process, Runzler said. In four to sixweeks, I should be game ready. Thats definitely better than we originallythought. We can be aggressive with this.Runzler expects to begin the season in extended springtraining to build up innings, with the hope to be game ready in mid-April.Obviously, he wont be a candidate for the final bullpen spot, which isexpected to go to right-hander Clay Hensley.Hensley has been slowed by a tight hamstring, but said hefelt good during a side session and should be cleared to appear in exhibitiongames.

Giants trade Chris Heston to Mariners

Giants trade Chris Heston to Mariners

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Faced with a crowded depth chart and a need for a roster spot, the Giants shipped right-hander Chris Heston to Seattle on Wednesday night.

The Mariners announced the deal shortly after 7pm PT on Wednesday.

Heston, who made 31 starts and threw a no-hitter for the Giants in 2015, would have been designated for assignment had a deal not gotten done. The Giants will receive a player to be named later. The move clears a 40-man roster spot for closer Mark Melancon, who signed Monday. 

Heston, 28, filled in after injuries to veterans in 2015 and posted a 3.95 ERA and 12 wins, one of which was a no-hitter in New York. He was a first-half savior for an unhealthy staff, going 9-5 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 starts before the All-Star break. The long season caught up to Heston down the stretch, and the Giants filled their rotation that December with free agents Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. 

Heston made just four appearances in 2016 after being moved to the bullpen. It was a transition that didn't quite take, and he ended up back in the minors, making 14 starts for the River Cats as he worked to regain some of the velocity that was lost when he dropped 15 pounds during offseason workouts. An oblique injury led to Heston being put on the 60-day DL in June and ultimately ended his season. 

This represents a needed fresh start for Heston, who was hopelessly blocked in the Giants’ system. The Giants acquired Matt Moore at the deadline and Ty Blach and Matt Cain will compete for the final rotation spot. Veteran Albert Suarez and top pitching prospect Tyler Beede are among the starters who had jumped ahead of Heston. In Seattle, he joins a team in need of starting depth, and he should get a shot to return to a big league rotation.

Kuiper has been told to expect many boring ninth innings from Melancon

Kuiper has been told to expect many boring ninth innings from Melancon

Over the last three seasons, nobody has registered more saves than new Giants closer Mark Melancon.

The three-time All-Star is 131 for 141 in save opportunities over that span.

Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper spoke with Nationals broadcaster F.P. Santangelo about what Melancon brings to the table.

"Mike (Krukow) and I both talked to F.P. and he basically said, 'He's boring. The ninth inning is boring.' And we were like, 'Really? Wow. We haven't seen that in awhile.' So a boring ninth inning would be good for everybody," Kuiper said on KNBR 680 on Wednesday. "Our fans, it would certainly be good for our manager and pitching coach because those two guys had to wear it."

[RELATED: Dusty Baker: 'I hate losing Melancon,' Giants have more resources than Nats]

The Giants blew 30 saves in 2016 -- the most in baseball -- and Giants GM Bobby Evans made it very clear from the moment the season ended that adding a closer was the team's top priority.

San Francisco is confident assimilating Melancon won't be an issue.

He looks like one of those guys who will fit into the clubhouse immediately," Kuiper said.