Melancon Passes First Real Test

Working his way back from Tommy John surgery, Mark Melancon passed his first real test towards getting back to normal after pitching in two different Instructional League camps. Not holding back, he is quite happy with how he pitched in the Dominican Republic, so much so he stayed even longer than scheduled.

"I really enjoyed it down there so I told Nardi Contreras that maybe I could stay longer and get another [game] in, get another three innings in," Mark Melancon said of his time at Dominican Instructs. "He agreed to that and let me stay down there longer. It went well."

Getting better with each passing appearance, it turns out Melancon knew what he was doing when he asked to stay longer and pitch in more game.

"I think I struck out the first three in the first inning," he said of his last Instructional League game, "then struck out two in the second inning, and struck out one or two in the third inning. I did alright."

While the in-game results make for good conversation, the more important development upong returning home the day before Thanksgiving was how he felt after his second three-week mini-camp.

"I feel like I just left, I feel great," he admitted. "How do I explain it? It feels like I just came off an offseason, not even like I've had surgery, and just starting back up again. I feel good. I didn't have any pain in my elbow, my shoulder, nothing, so I was excited."

With being in great health the headline of his time in the Dominican Republic, improving his stuff from beginning to end was the other encouraging storyline.

Sitting mostly 88-92 MPH with his fastball in his first Dominican Instructs appearance, he had a little more zip in his following games.

"I hadn't thrown in a while since Tampa," he said of his first start at Dominican Instructs. "My arm strength feels as good as [before the injury]. I'm sitting 90-93 MPH I think and hopefully it'll get stronger as time progresses. They say that about Tommy John [surgery] once in a while so hopefully I'm part of that club."

Satisfied with his fastball-curveball combination at the current time, what has the former University of Arizona closer really excited is the development of his changeup.

"I feel like I've come a long way with my changeup," he revealed. "My curveball and my fastball are still what they used to be and I feel like my changeup is better than it used to be. Mentally and physically I feel as good as ever. I don't know what else to say except I feel real good."

Making the most of his rehab, Melancon has been using the time behind the scenes to ensure he returns to real game action armed as much as possible.

"I was mixing it up," he said of the strikeouts in his final Dominican Instructs game. "In the first inning I was throwing the curve but then I didn't want to throw it as much because I wanted to mix in the changeup and work on that.

"That's what's nice about the Instructional League, your performance isn't based on what you do [numbers-wise], it's based on what you do and how you locate - it's not the results. I was working on the changeup and on location mostly."

Pitching so strongly that many inside the organization are predicting not only a strong 2008 campaign for him but a quick rise through the minor leagues, Melancon has passed his first real rehab test at both Instructs because of his heedless attitude.

"I've approached this whole rehab process with not hesitating on anything or holding back," Melancon admitted. "I'm going to go through it and not worry about it. If it's going to pop again it's going to pop. I've taken it all in 100 percent and not held back anything.

"I think that has been good for me because you hear a lot of guys with the mental aspect of, 'I don't really want to let loose, I'm scared to throw my curveball.' I didn't want to go about it that way because I didn't want to be at this point and still be worried about it. I'm happy I took that approach."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I really enjoyed it down there so I told Nardi Contreras that maybe I could stay longer and get another [game] in, get another three innings in,\" Mark Melancon said of his time at Dominican Instructs. \"He agreed to that and let me stay down there longer. It went well.\"
\r\n
\r\nGetting better with each passing appearance, it turns out Melancon knew what he was doing when he asked to stay longer and pitch in more game.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think I struck out the first three in the first inning,\" he said of his last Instructional League game, \"then struck out two in the second inning, and struck out one or two in the third inning. I did alright.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile the in-game results make for good conversation, the more important development upong returning home the day before Thanksgiving was how he felt after his second three-week mini-camp.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like I just left, I feel great,\" he admitted. \"How do I explain it? It feels like I just came off an offseason, not even like I've had surgery, and just starting back up again. I feel good. I didn't have any pain in my elbow, my shoulder, nothing, so I was excited.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith being in great health the headline of his time in the Dominican Republic, improving his stuff from beginning to end was the other encouraging storyline.
\r\n
\r\nSitting mostly 88-92 MPH with his fastball in his first Dominican Instructs appearance, he had a little more zip in his following games.
\r\n
\r\n\"I hadn't thrown in a while since Tampa,\" he said of his first start at Dominican Instructs. \"My arm strength feels as good as [before the injury]. I'm sitting 90-93 MPH I think and hopefully it'll get stronger as time progresses. They say that about Tommy John [surgery] once in a while so hopefully I'm part of that club.\"
\r\n
\r\nSatisfied with his fastball-curveball combination at the current time, what has the former University of Arizona closer really excited is the development of his changeup.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like I've come a long way with my changeup,\" he revealed. \"My curveball and my fastball are still what they used to be and I feel like my changeup is better than it used to be. Mentally and physically I feel as good as ever. I don't know what else to say except I feel real good.\"
\r\n
\r\nMaking the most of his rehab, Melancon has been using the time behind the scenes to ensure he returns to real game action armed as much as possible.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was mixing it up,\" he said of the strikeouts in his final Dominican Instructs game. \"In the first inning I was throwing the curve but then I didn't want to throw it as much because I wanted to mix in the changeup and work on that.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's what's nice about the Instructional League, your performance isn't based on what you do [numbers-wise], it's based on what you do and how you locate - it's not the results. I was working on the changeup and on location mostly.\"
\r\n
\r\nPitching so strongly that many inside the organization are predicting not only a strong 2008 campaign for him but a quick rise through the minor leagues, Melancon has passed his first real rehab test at both Instructs because of his heedless attitude.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've approached this whole rehab process with not hesitating on anything or holding back,\" Melancon admitted. \"I'm going to go through it and not worry about it. If it's going to pop again it's going to pop. I've taken it all in 100 percent and not held back anything.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think that has been good for me because you hear a lot of guys with the mental aspect of, 'I don't really want to let loose, I'm scared to throw my curveball.' I didn't want to go about it that way because I didn't want to be at this point and still be worried about it. I'm happy I took that approach.\"
\r\n
\r\n

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

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\r\n

\r\n

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