SAN DIEGO — The Giants finally gave a Mark Melancon update on Thursday, but it was hard to tell whether the news was good or bad.
Melancon had a stem cell injection in his injured right pronator, which did not respond as hoped to September surgery, and the Giants are hopeful he can begin a throwing program in two weeks. At the same time, there’s no guarantee of that, and there was an acknowledgement that this continued pronator tightness is something that there’s not really a precedent for among pitchers.
For now, at least, the Giants are glad the procedure was not another surgical one.
“I think it’s good news that we don’t have to do more than that,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I can’t tell you how long before he’s on the mound pitching for us, but at least we have a better idea now than we did yesterday.”
Melancon sought another opinion from Dr. James Andrews, a noted orthopedist, and the determination was that his ligament is fine. Tightness in and around the pronator and the adjacent nerves caused Melancon to be shut down a few days before the start of the season. He is in year two of a four-year deal that was briefly the richest ever signed by a reliever.
Without Melancon, the Giants will continue to lean on Hunter Strickland. He has just one wobble this season — a homer allowed to Paul Goldschmidt — but otherwise has been dominant.