Hunter Strickland to Fill in as Giants Closer With Mark Melancon on the DL

LOS ANGELES -- Bruce Bochy said the Giants hope to get their closer back in a couple weeks. Mark Melancon's face told a different story.

Melancon, visibly upset by his latest health issue, said he will see a specialist in Los Angeles this week after an MRI showed inflammation in his right flexor. He was placed on the disabled list on Thursday morning, a few hours before the season opener, and Bochy later named Hunter Strickland his interim closer.

Melancon said he pitched in pain all spring. For now, he will get treatment to try to knock the inflammation out.

"It's just been a long calendar year," he said. "Thinking I would have plenty of time to get back to today. Not being available today is rough."

The Giants were a bit blindsighted by the development. Melancon felt discomfort much of last season and the team was out of the race early, but he waited until September to have pronator surgery. At the time, all parties claimed Melancon would be ready for the 2018 season, but early in camp he told reporters that he still felt something in his forearm. He went back-to-back for the first time during the last two days of spring training and the next day told the staff that something wasn't right.

It's unclear what comes next for Melancon. The bullpen order has certainly been reset, though. Bochy said Strickland earned the ninth inning with a scoreless spring.

"I think he threw the ball as well as anybody," Bochy said.

The set-up situation has also changed. Cory Gearrin is the eighth-inning right-hander for now and Sam Dyson will pitch in lower leverage situations at the start of the season after a rough spring. Tony Watson will join Gearrin in the eighth.

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