Melancon Happy There Is A Fix

With the writing on the wall since even before he signed with the Yankees, Mark Melancon had Tommy John surgery on October 31st after being sent home from the Hawaiian Winter League a couple of weeks prior. While nobody likes to miss an entire year, Melancon told PinstripesPlus.com that he takes comfort in the fact that there was a fix to his problem.

Signing late after being selected in the 9th round out of the University of Arizona in June, Mark Melancon got his feet wet in the professional game by notching two saves in seven appearances for the NY-Penn League Champion Staten Island Yankees.

Throwing pain-free for the first time in 2006, the Yankees decided to send Melancon to the Hawaiian Winter League for some more seasoning before he started experiencing the same pain he had in his final year of college.

"Well I guess it kind of teased me because when I was playing at [The University of] Arizona, I thought I might have to have it then," Melancon said of his sore elbow in college. "We went through the process of sitting out and trying to let it heal. Then right before the draft I was playing catch and it felt great."

"From there I thought I got my health to the point where I didn't need it, my arm felt great to 100 percent and it felt that way through mini-camp and when I played in Staten Island. Then when I got back down to Tampa right before we went to Hawaii, it gave me a little trouble."

"I didn't know if it was because I had thrown more in that month than the [previous] four months I sat out. But when I got out to Hawaii, it started flaring up and felt just like it did out in Arizona."

"I knew at that point something was going on and we needed to just take care of whatever it is," he continued. "I didn't know if it was Tommy John or what, but I knew there was no point in just sitting around and waiting. We needed to see a doctor and get it taken care of."

Melancon went to Dr. Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama on October 31st and had a tendon from his hamstring taken out and wrapped around the ligament in his elbow.

"I had Tommy John surgery on Halloween," said Melancon. "I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. The surgery went well though."

While most hurlers would be devastated to hear the words 'Tommy John', Melancon has known, on some level, that it was going to be a part of his future at some point.

"Everybody told me that there's more likelihood that you will have to have it," he revealed. "There was a very small chance that I was never going to have to have it considering the injury that had happened. I guess I knew that I most likely would have to have it at some point, I just didn't think it would be this soon."

"That's another reason why I was so happy to go to Hawaii, besides the obvious reasons, just to throw to see if I did need this surgery because I don't want to wait until next Spring Training, get set up somewhere, and then have it done, because I just wasted four or five extra months. That's why I'm happy it happened now rather than four or five months down the road."

Melancon remains positive about the surgery and he refuses to look at it as a setback. He simply employs a glass-is-half-full mentality and takes comfort in the fact that there is finally some closure to the pain that has plagued him for the majority of 2006.

"Well obviously nobody is happy to hear they're going to be out for 10-16 months," said the 21-year old. "That's not good news by any means. But the positive side is, I'm happy there is a fix to the problem and we had the best doctor in the country do it, and everything went well. The ball's kind of in my court now. I've got to work harder and just do everything possible to get healthy again."

Back in Tampa beginning his rehab process, the good news for Melancon is misery loves company. He won't be alone in his journey back to the mound, joining the likes of Jason Stephens and Lance Pendleton as recent Tommy John surgery recipients and he has already received some words of wisdom from them.

"Their advice is just don't try to jump the gun and make sure you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, and if you do all those things, there's a very small chance that something will go wrong," said Melancon. "That's very comforting because I know I'm going to get after it and work hard and do everything that I'm told. I realize it is stupid to try and hurry up the process."

If there's a benefit of receiving Tommy John surgery, it would be how some pitchers come back and actually throw harder.

"The doctor talked to me about that before he did the surgery," Melancon said about possibly being able to throw harder when he comes back from Tommy John surgery, "he said don't expect it, but that is one positive thing about the surgery that a few guys he's run across are able to throw harder after the surgery. Give it to me two or three times if that's the case. Hopefully that [throwing harder] will happen for me."

While he's not banking on throwing harder after the surgery, Melancon is going to use his time wisely and spin his surgery into a positive.

"It gives you time to iron out all the little things you need to work on," he concluded. "You can bear down and focus on them without worrying about getting hit."

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n \r\nSigning late after being selected in the 9th round out of the University of Arizona in June, Mark Melancon got his feet wet in the professional game by notching two saves in seven appearances for the NY-Penn League Champion Staten Island Yankees.
\r\n
\r\nThrowing pain-free for the first time in 2006, the Yankees decided to send Melancon to the Hawaiian Winter League for some more seasoning before he started experiencing the same pain he had in his final year of college.
\r\n
\r\n\"Well I guess it kind of teased me because when I was playing at [The University of] Arizona, I thought I might have to have it then,\" Melancon said of his sore elbow in college. \"We went through the process of sitting out and trying to let it heal. Then right before the draft I was playing catch and it felt great.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"From there I thought I got my health to the point where I didn't need it, my arm felt great to 100 percent and it felt that way through mini-camp and when I played in Staten Island. Then when I got back down to Tampa right before we went to Hawaii, it gave me a little trouble.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I didn't know if it was because I had thrown more in that month than the [previous] four months I sat out. But when I got out to Hawaii, it started flaring up and felt just like it did out in Arizona.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I knew at that point something was going on and we needed to just take care of whatever it is,\" he continued. \"I didn't know if it was Tommy John or what, but I knew there was no point in just sitting around and waiting. We needed to see a doctor and get it taken care of.\"
\r\n
\r\nMelancon went to Dr. Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama on October 31st and had a tendon from his hamstring taken out and wrapped around the ligament in his elbow.
\r\n
\r\n\"I had Tommy John surgery on Halloween,\" said Melancon. \"I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. The surgery went well though.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile most hurlers would be devastated to hear the words 'Tommy John', Melancon has known, on some level, that it was going to be a part of his future at some point.
\r\n
\r\n\"Everybody told me that there's more likelihood that you will have to have it,\" he revealed. \"There was a very small chance that I was never going to have to have it considering the injury that had happened. I guess I knew that I most likely would have to have it at some point, I just didn't think it would be this soon.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"That's another reason why I was so happy to go to Hawaii, besides the obvious reasons, just to throw to see if I did need this surgery because I don't want to wait until next Spring Training, get set up somewhere, and then have it done, because I just wasted four or five extra months. That's why I'm happy it happened now rather than four or five months down the road.\"
\r\n
\r\nMelancon remains positive about the surgery and he refuses to look at it as a setback. He simply employs a glass-is-half-full mentality and takes comfort in the fact that there is finally some closure to the pain that has plagued him for the majority of 2006.
\r\n
\r\n\"Well obviously nobody is happy to hear they're going to be out for 10-16 months,\" said the 21-year old. \"That's not good news by any means. But the positive side is, I'm happy there is a fix to the problem and we had the best doctor in the country do it, and everything went well. The ball's kind of in my court now. I've got to work harder and just do everything possible to get healthy again.\"
\r\n
\r\nBack in Tampa beginning his rehab process, the good news for Melancon is misery loves company. He won't be alone in his journey back to the mound, joining the likes of Jason Stephens and Lance Pendleton as recent Tommy John surgery recipients and he has already received some words of wisdom from them.
\r\n
\r\n\"Their advice is just don't try to jump the gun and make sure you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, and if you do all those things, there's a very small chance that something will go wrong,\" said Melancon. \"That's very comforting because I know I'm going to get after it and work hard and do everything that I'm told. I realize it is stupid to try and hurry up the process.\"
\r\n
\r\nIf there's a benefit of receiving Tommy John surgery, it would be how some pitchers come back and actually throw harder.
\r\n
\r\n\"The doctor talked to me about that before he did the surgery,\" Melancon said about possibly being able to throw harder when he comes back from Tommy John surgery, \"he said don't expect it, but that is one positive thing about the surgery that a few guys he's run across are able to throw harder after the surgery. Give it to me two or three times if that's the case. Hopefully that [throwing harder] will happen for me.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile he's not banking on throwing harder after the surgery, Melancon is going to use his time wisely and spin his surgery into a positive.
\r\n
\r\n\"It gives you time to iron out all the little things you need to work on,\" he concluded. \"You can bear down and focus on them without worrying about getting hit.\"
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