SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford help Team USA reach the later rounds of the World Baseball Classic, they may be joined by a pair of teammates.
Right-handers Mark Melancon and Jeff Samardzija will be added to the roster, CSN Bay Area has learned, although the Giants are unsure about what the exact level of participation would be. The players got the call from Joe Torre on Thursday, and Melancon said he could join the United States as soon as the second round in San Diego. Conversations with Samardzija centered on making him an option for the semifinal round, which starts March 20 in Los Angeles.
"It wouldn't be a problem," Samardzija said. "I feel good."
While the Giants have not always been keen on their pitchers participating in the March tournament, Melancon and Samardzija have been two of the most consistent pitchers in camp. Melancon was perfect in his first three outings and he hasn't allowed a run in six appearances. Samardzija has allowed four runs in three starts, and his stuff looks to be in midseason form. His pitch count got into the 60s the last time out, and he said any WBC action would come right at the part of his spring where he usually peaks and then starts to wind down for the regular season.
Melancon said he was asked to pitch in the tournament late last year, but he originally turned Team USA down because he did not want to leave during his first camp with the Giants. "It didn't feel right at the time," he said. Like Samardzija, Melancon said he's excited about the second chance. He had a long conversation with general manager Bobby Evans on Friday morning.
"What an opportunity," Melancon said. "I'm really thankful the Giants are on board and they understand the opportunity there to be able to represent your country. We're all on the same page and comfortable with it. It's all about communication and having these guys back me up has been great."
The Giants have one more right-hander who may join the tournament. Johnny Cueto, who is starting Saturday's Cactus League game, has yet to make a final decision on his participation. Cueto has told teammates that he is strongly leaning toward not playing, but his interest was said to be rekindled a bit as he watched recent WBC games and his potential teammates on the Dominican Republic team.