Melancon Feeling Like New

It has been nearly ten months since Mark Melancon had Tommy John surgery last Halloween. Working his way back and finally throwing bullpen sessions at the Yankees minor league complex, he's inching his way closer to game action and he says he feels like he has a brand new arm.

"It's really going well," Mark Melancon said of his rehab. "Right now I'm throwing bullpens, just changeups and fastballs. Curveballs are on flat ground right now, that's what you do before you start throwing any pitch."

"It's just easier on your arm," he said of throwing the curveball off of flat surfaces. "It takes that toll off - that downward slope just adds tension to your arm, and it's just easing your way into it. We have to incorporate curveballs. Until I throw every pitch, probably another four weeks."

No longer on a rehab mound and finally throwing bullpen sessions off of a regular pitching mound, Melancon says he will be mixing in his curveball very soon and then he should be back to his normal pre-injury routine by next month.

"It feels fine throwing it on a flat ground," he said of his curveball, "but I'm also not throwing it as hard as I can. That will come here in a couple of weeks. I'll incorporate curveballs in about two or three more weeks [into his bullpen sessions] and then everything will be normal."

"I'll just have to get my arm strength back, which I feel like it is already, but just continue to throw and develop those pitches even more," he added.

Unable to throw his entire repertoire in the bullpen sessions right now, Melancon and the Yankees are using the time wisely.

"Now is a good time to be working on my mechanics, which Gil Patterson and I are doing," he said. "We're just fine-tuning some things because I hadn't thrown in a while."

While throwing a curveball off of a regular mound will be the final hurdle in his rehab process, the fact that he has been throwing his other pitches from the regular mound for over weeks now has been very encouraging.

"I feel like I have a brand new arm, it's amazing," Melancon revealed. "I've had no setbacks up to this point, which a lot of people talk about having setbacks, kind of anticipating those. I never anticipated them. If they came, that was fine."

"I didn't want to have that preconceived notion of 'let's just plan on having a couple weeks of setbacks'. I didn't want to have that. It's good, and so far everything has come together."

Mentally, it appears as if Melancon didn't even have the surgery, as evidenced by his approach in his bullpen sessions, where he isn't holding back.

"No, I'm letting it rip," he said of currently throwing his fastball. "Velocity-wise, I don't know. It feels like I'm back to where I was, but I haven't been clocked or anything."

With his curveball more or less shelved at the current time, he has been using his time in the bullpens to help develop his changeup, a pitch that Melancon has wanted to enhance since he signed with the Yankees.

"We've played with some things," Melancon talked about his changeup, "tinkered with a few different grips, and honestly, it's good. It's not my out-pitch yet, but it's definitely a pitch I can use to get outs with."

Nearly ten months since his surgery, and even though he hasn't topped eight career innings yet, he appears to be in very good spirits.

"I'm happy," he said where he is mentally, "I'm really happy. I have no complaints. I'm just so happy with the organization. They've treated me so well with everything, so honestly, I couldn't be happier."

Adding to his happiness is seeing his fellow draft-mate reach the big leagues this season, ironically, fulfilling the same role Melancon was selected to fill.

"It's really been exciting," he said of Chamberlain's rise to the Major Leagues. "Obviously Joba has earned his right to be up there and he's a great guy. He works hard, obviously. He deserves it and I'm happy for him."

"We roomed together out in Hawaii and I couldn't be happier. To see him break through, that it's possible in this organization - I'm using anything that I can as motivation."

While he finds inspiration in his friend and has pitched with a 'no fear' philosophy in his rehab thus far, Melancon says he tries to bring some balance to his approach by taking things one day at a time.

"I've learned some patience," he said of his Tommy John surgery, "like you can't go out there and hit a five-run home run. You've got to get base hits and take each step one at a time. If you do that, it goes by fairly quickly. It seems like a couple of months ago I had surgery, not nine and half months."

Melancon, who has used his time rehabbing to also take 27 credits to get himself closer to his college degree, is however chomping at the bit to mix it up some in game situations.

"Yeah I told Gil [Patterson] the other day, 'just let me go get some outs in the [GCL] game and that will be my rehab for the day'," Melancon said of his eagerness to get back into games. "He didn't let me do that of course."

The good news is however, just a couple of weeks away from re-incorporating his curveball, Melancon could finally face some live batters at the Yankees' mini-camp this fall.

"I'll be in Instructional League, and if everything goes well, I'll be throwing against hitters and just be like everybody else as far as that. I don't know one-hundred percent on what's going to happen there," he said of possibly playing winter ball. "They have brought that up and asked if it's okay, if that's the possibility they want to take."

"I'm up for doing that either in Hawaii or in the Dominican Republic. I think anytime that I can pitch is a good opportunity for me to go and improve my stuff."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"It's really going well,\" Mark Melancon said of his rehab. \"Right now I'm throwing bullpens, just changeups and fastballs. Curveballs are on flat ground right now, that's what you do before you start throwing any pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It's just easier on your arm,\" he said of throwing the curveball off of flat surfaces. \"It takes that toll off - that downward slope just adds tension to your arm, and it's just easing your way into it. We have to incorporate curveballs. Until I throw every pitch, probably another four weeks.\"
\r\n
\r\nNo longer on a rehab mound and finally throwing bullpen sessions off of a regular pitching mound, Melancon says he will be mixing in his curveball very soon and then he should be back to his normal pre-injury routine by next month.
\r\n
\r\n\"It feels fine throwing it on a flat ground,\" he said of his curveball, \"but I'm also not throwing it as hard as I can. That will come here in a couple of weeks. I'll incorporate curveballs in about two or three more weeks [into his bullpen sessions] and then everything will be normal.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I'll just have to get my arm strength back, which I feel like it is already, but just continue to throw and develop those pitches even more,\" he added.
\r\n
\r\nUnable to throw his entire repertoire in the bullpen sessions right now, Melancon and the Yankees are using the time wisely.
\r\n
\r\n\"Now is a good time to be working on my mechanics, which Gil Patterson and I are doing,\" he said. \"We're just fine-tuning some things because I hadn't thrown in a while.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile throwing a curveball off of a regular mound will be the final hurdle in his rehab process, the fact that he has been throwing his other pitches from the regular mound for over weeks now has been very encouraging.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like I have a brand new arm, it's amazing,\" Melancon revealed. \"I've had no setbacks up to this point, which a lot of people talk about having setbacks, kind of anticipating those. I never anticipated them. If they came, that was fine.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I didn't want to have that preconceived notion of 'let's just plan on having a couple weeks of setbacks'. I didn't want to have that. It's good, and so far everything has come together.\"
\r\n
\r\nMentally, it appears as if Melancon didn't even have the surgery, as evidenced by his approach in his bullpen sessions, where he isn't holding back.
\r\n
\r\n\"No, I'm letting it rip,\" he said of currently throwing his fastball. \"Velocity-wise, I don't know. It feels like I'm back to where I was, but I haven't been clocked or anything.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith his curveball more or less shelved at the current time, he has been using his time in the bullpens to help develop his changeup, a pitch that Melancon has wanted to enhance since he signed with the Yankees.
\r\n
\r\n\"We've played with some things,\" Melancon talked about his changeup, \"tinkered with a few different grips, and honestly, it's good. It's not my out-pitch yet, but it's definitely a pitch I can use to get outs with.\"
\r\n
\r\nNearly ten months since his surgery, and even though he hasn't topped eight career innings yet, he appears to be in very good spirits.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm happy,\" he said where he is mentally, \"I'm really happy. I have no complaints. I'm just so happy with the organization. They've treated me so well with everything, so honestly, I couldn't be happier.\"
\r\n
\r\nAdding to his happiness is seeing his fellow draft-mate reach the big leagues this season, ironically, fulfilling the same role Melancon was selected to fill.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's really been exciting,\" he said of Chamberlain's rise to the Major Leagues. \"Obviously Joba has earned his right to be up there and he's a great guy. He works hard, obviously. He deserves it and I'm happy for him.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"We roomed together out in Hawaii and I couldn't be happier. To see him break through, that it's possible in this organization - I'm using anything that I can as motivation.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile he finds inspiration in his friend and has pitched with a 'no fear' philosophy in his rehab thus far, Melancon says he tries to bring some balance to his approach by taking things one day at a time.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've learned some patience,\" he said of his Tommy John surgery, \"like you can't go out there and hit a five-run home run. You've got to get base hits and take each step one at a time. If you do that, it goes by fairly quickly. It seems like a couple of months ago I had surgery, not nine and half months.\"
\r\n
\r\nMelancon, who has used his time rehabbing to also take 27 credits to get himself closer to his college degree, is however chomping at the bit to mix it up some in game situations.
\r\n
\r\n\"Yeah I told Gil [Patterson] the other day, 'just let me go get some outs in the [GCL] game and that will be my rehab for the day',\" Melancon said of his eagerness to get back into games. \"He didn't let me do that of course.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe good news is however, just a couple of weeks away from re-incorporating his curveball, Melancon could finally face some live batters at the Yankees' mini-camp this fall.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'll be in Instructional League, and if everything goes well, I'll be throwing against hitters and just be like everybody else as far as that. I don't know one-hundred percent on what's going to happen there,\" he said of possibly playing winter ball. \"They have brought that up and asked if it's okay, if that's the possibility they want to take.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm up for doing that either in Hawaii or in the Dominican Republic. I think anytime that I can pitch is a good opportunity for me to go and improve my stuff.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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