Giants closer Mark Melancon may start 2018 season on disabled list

Alex Pavlovic
NBC Sports BayArea

SAN FRANCISCO - The damage done over the final couple of days in Scottsdale ended up being worse than it first seemed. Already without two of their top three starters, the Giants may also begin the season without their closer. 

Mark Melancon still feels something wrong in his surgically-repaired pitching arm and will not take the mound again before opening day. Melancon last pitched Friday, the day Madison Bumgarner got hurt, and manager Bruce Bochy said he's limited to playing catch for now. 

"We're going to see how he's doing tomorrow," Bochy said. "We're just not going to pitch him right now. We're hoping he's all good for Thursday but we don't know right now if that's going to be the case. We're just letting him play catch right now. That's all."

Melancon had surgery last September to fix a right pronator strain, but he was slow-played all camp and at one point told reporters that he still occasionally felt discomfort in his right arm. Melancon did not make back-to-back appearances until the final two days of spring training and he did not come out of the second game feeling particularly encouraged. 

If Melancon does start the season on the disabled list, the Giants would likely turn to either Tony Watson or Sam Dyson in the ninth inning. Both served as a closer for part of the 2017 season, although Dyson had a rough spring, allowing 10 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings. Hunter Strickland could also be an option. With a revamped slider, he hasn't allowed a run throughout the exhibition season.

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