Giants

Giants place closer Mark Melancon on DL with right pronator strain

Giants place closer Mark Melancon on DL with right pronator strain

NEW YORK -- Before Tuesday's game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was asked if he would start using Mark Melancon in non-save situations since the Giants don't often take a lead into the ninth. He said the time wasn't right to change Melancon's role. As it turned out, Bochy won't have Melancon in any form for at least 10 days. 

The Giants placed Melancon on the DL just before Tuesday's game with a mild right pronator strain. The pronator is a muscle located just below the elbow. There was no immediate timetable for Melancon's return. This is Melancon's first trip to the disabled list.

Melancon had not pitched since May 3 in Los Angeles, when he picked up his sixth save. He has made 11 appearances in his first season with the Giants, posting a 2.53 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. 

With Melancon out, Derek Law seems the likely choice to be elevated to closer. He pitched the eighth inning Monday night and has generally been Melancon's setup man. 

Because the move was made so late in the evening, the Giants did not have time to add a fresh body. They are taking on the Mets with 24 men on the roster. Shortstop Brandon Crawford is expected to return Wednesday.

 

Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and others will have a different look at plate

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Alex Pavlovic

Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and others will have a different look at plate

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After 10 days of watching him take batting practice and do catching drills, the Giants fully expect Buster Posey to be in the lineup on March 28 in San Diego. When he digs into the box, you'll see a different look from Posey, now in his 11th big league season. 

Posey is one of a dozen Giants wearing a batting helmet with a flap this spring. Last year, the Giants had just one player on their active roster -- backup catcher Aramis Garcia -- with a flap protecting his jaw. Posey said he plans to use the new helmet during the 2019 season. 

"I thought about changing last year but I didn't want to do it during the season," he said. "It's just about getting more protection.

Not surprisingly, the catchers appear to be leading the way. Garcia started wearing a helmet flap after suffering a facial fracture in 2016 while playing for the San Jose Giants. René Rivera started wearing the bigger helmet last year, not because of concussion issues -- Posey and Garcia both have had concussions behind the plate -- but because of what he was seeing from pitchers. 

"Everyone is throwing harder every year, and a lot of these guys are throwing up in the zone now," he said, mimicking a fastball that moves quickly towards a batter's head. "It's extra protection at the plate."

The catchers aren't the only ones with the new look. Pablo Sandoval had a flap on his helmet during live batting practice sessions earlier this week, along with Cameron Maybin, who wore one last year with the Marlins and Mariners. Others are expected to follow. 

The change for homegrown Giants has a lot to do with a change by Rawlings. The equipment company has a new helmet that is made to withstand a 105 mph fastball, an increase from the old helmet that withstood 100 mph. The r-flap has been redesigned and is not as bulky. 

Brad Grems, the clubhouse coordinator, said Rawlings engineers will be in the clubhouse Friday to show players their new helmets. Rawlings now has flaps that can be screwed onto the helmet in three different positions, allowing for more flexibility and comfort. Garcia said the old flap, while necessary for him, would often press against his face. 

According to Grems, the new helmet will be a better fit for players' heads. By 2020, Rawlings plans to roll out the new, better-fitting helmet in every clubhouse. By then, you could see a lot more players protecting their jaws with a helmet flap.

MLB rumors: Phillies confident they'll sign Bryce Harper in free agency

MLB rumors: Phillies confident they'll sign Bryce Harper in free agency

We have an update in the latest edition of MLB's daily reality show: "Where on earth will Bryce Harper sign?"

Well, it's kind of an update.

The Philadelphia Phillies, who have long been considered a favorite to sign the 26-year-old superstar, "are confident" they will sign the former Nationals outfielder, Matt Breen of Philly.com reported Thursday.

After Manny Machado agreed to a record 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres, Breen reports that the Phillies have "ramped up their negotiations" in their efforts to land Harper.

The Giants, of course, have been linked to Harper ever since they met with the prized free agent in early February. At one point the Giants were considered the betting favorites for Harper's services.

However, on Wednesday it was reported that they were "not optimistic" about landing the six-time All-Star.

[RELATED: Where Harper market stands after Machado's record contract]

Although Breen notes in his piece that the Giants appear to be the Phillies' biggest challenger for Harper, it still appears that San Francisco is more likely to be the bridesmaid than the bride in the bid to acquire the 2015 NL MVP.

But, who knows -- in the world of this slow MLB free agency, there will probably be more twists and turns before all is said and done.