Reliable on the mound, Melancon seeks thrills off of it

Reliable on the mound, Melancon seeks thrills off of it

SAN FRANCISCO — At his introductory press conference Friday, new Giant Mark Melancon was asked about the fearlessness it takes to be a big league closer. He looked down at the first row of seats, where his wife Mary Catherine was sitting in a brand new No. 41 jersey, smiling. 

“You should probably ask my wife that,” Melancon joked.

When the Melancons got married, Mary Catherine had a calligrapher write up an actual bucket list of things the two could do together and presented it to Mark as a wedding gift. 

“It’s framed and it’s in our bathroom,” Mark said during an interview with CSN Bay Area on Friday. “It’s literally in our bathroom and we look at it all the time and try to plan out what we’re going to get done. Because it is on paper and it’s a goal and all that, we’ve checked off probably 40 or 50 percent of it in six years.”

The check marks include biking down the world’s “most dangerous road” in Bolivia and diving with great white sharks near New Zealand. The Melancons have visited Dubai and gone on a safari and stayed in countless cities off the beaten path. They have gone underwater with manta rays and high in the air in a blimp. Some of the items are simple ones, like attending a Nascar race. 

“There are a few items we’ll have to wait for until after baseball,” Melancon said. “We try to keep it safe of course, but it’s just a lot of fun. It’s a way to kind of bring creativity and allow ourselves to do things you could easily say no to.”

The standard MLB contract prohibits quite a few “dangerous” activities, and with a four-year, $62 million deal that is currently the second-biggest ever for a reliever, Melancon will hold off on certain trips, like skiing the Swiss Alps. “Attend the Kentucky Derby” is on the bucket list, but because the Derby is in May, that one is saved for retirement. In his first year with the Giants, Melancon hopes to put a check mark next to “sit backstage at a concert.”

Melancon said the thrill-seeking has slowed down a bit because the couple now has three young children, two daughters and a son. The Giants are hoping the more relaxed vibe carries over into their ninth innings. Team officials have been told by past Melancon employers that they signed a closer who is “boring” on the mound, in a good way. With a cutter-heavy approach, Melancon tends to get his ninth-inning work done quickly and without drama. That’s a welcome change of pace for an organization that has grown accustomed to “torture” late in games. 

“He was our target and we’ve gotten to know him, and the more we’ve gotten to know him the better we’ve felt about the fact that he was really meant to be a Giant,” team president and CEO Larry Baer said. 

The Giants had Melancon as their top offseason choice — and only big offseason expenditure — all along. Team officials feel even better about that approach after watching Melancon tour the ballpark Friday morning and meet with season-ticket holders and team employees. The fit was an easy one, with one member of the front office saying Melancon is “practically straight out of Giants central casting.”

Melancon’s new teammates feel the same way. He said eight to 10 of them have reached out since the deal was announced Monday. The group includes the types of players who are on any free agent’s bucket list of potential teammates. A ground ball pitcher, Melancon is looking forward to working with a Gold Glove infield. 

“That’s kind of an attractive thing to have a couple of Gold Glovers (up the middle) and then being able to throw to Buster is icing on the cake,” he said. “When you put things together on paper and go ‘who do you want to throw to and back you up,’ this team stands out.”

Giants lineup: Nunez in right field against Padres

Giants lineup: Nunez in right field against Padres

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Padres-Giants coverage begins at 5pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming right here.

With the Giants shuffling players around, Eduardo Nunez finds himself manning right field Saturday evening against the Padres.

San Diego Padres:
1. Manuel Margot (R) CF
2. Cory Spangenberg (L) LF
3. Wil Myers (R) 1B
4. Yangervis Solarte (S) 2B
5. Ryan Schimpf (L) 3B
6. Hunter Renfroe (R) RF
7. Austin Hedges (R) C
8. Erick Aybar (S) SS
9. Jhoulys Chacin (R) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Brandon Belt (L) LF
3. Buster Posey (R) C
4. Michael Morse (R) 1B
5. Christian Arroyo (R) SS
6. Conor Gillaspie (L) 3B
7. Eduardo Nunez (R) RF
8. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
9. Matt Cain (R) P

 

Giants move Crawford from bereavement list to 10-day DL

Giants move Crawford from bereavement list to 10-day DL

Brandon Crawford, who was already on the bereavement list, has been placed on the 10-day DL by the Giants on Saturday.

Crawford has already served three of the 10 days due to his stint on the bereavement list. The Giants' shortstop is dealing with a right groin strain.

In 21 games this season, Crawford is hitting .263/.284/.434 with two home runs. He won his second Gold Glove last season. 

Rookie Christian Arroyo is taking his place at shortstop on Saturday.