The Giants pitching staff has suffered two more injury victims less than 48 hours before Opening Day, manager Bruce Bochy revealed Wednesday.
Closer Mark Melancon hasn’t appeared in a game since March 23 and Bochy confirmed he won’t pitch in Wednesday’s exhibition against the Oakland Athletics. He was coy when asked what exactly Melancon’s issue is, but mentioned he threw on flat ground.
As for the closer’s Opening day status, to call him a lock would be generous. Said Bochy:
“We’re hoping (he’ll be ready). We’re hoping it’s all good to go on Thursday. But we don’t know right now if that’ll be the case.”
Flame-throwing right-hander Julian Fernández has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and is getting a second opinion Thursday. The Giants selected Fernández from the Rockies during the Rule 5 draft in December and will need to keep him on the 25-man roster for the entirety of the 2018 season or offer him back to Colorado for $25,000. He will now start the season on the disabled list with no clarity on whether he will need surgery.
Bochy said it was “fair” to say there’s concern about Fernández:
“That’s why he’s getting a second opinion. He felt it last outing. We had it looked at and we’re going to get it looked at again. … It was going to go down to the wire (whether he’d make the team). I can’t say he was definitely on the club. With this injury, it’s a moot point right now.”
Fernández allowed 11 earned runs in 7-1/3 innings during Spring Training. His fastball regularly hits triple digits, however, and he struck out 12 in the same span so he still maintained an outside shot to make the roster at the back of the bullpen. With Melancon and Fernández possibly both on the shelf, the Giants could call on pitchers who were already assigned to minor-league camp like Derek Law, Roberto Gomez and Reyes Moronta.
Meanwhile, Jeff Samardzija is going to play catch on flat ground on Wednesday for the first time since going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Samardzija’s rehab time is scheduled to be roughly three-to-four weeks.