SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Mark Melancon decided it was time to switch gears this spring and represent his country.
On Sunday, the pitcher left the Giants and joined the U.S. team for its semifinal games on
Tuesday against Japan in the World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. has high hopes for Melancon who gained 47 saves in 51 opportunities for the Nationals and Pirates last year.
After he signed a four-year, $62 million contract with the Giants, the closer thought he should get to know his new team before joining the U.S. team. But his 7 scoreless appearances for the Giants in the Cactus League proved Melancon was comfortable enough to switch gears this preseason.
Melancon said he watched Americans’ 6-3 triumph over the Dominican Republic that put them in the semis and knew he would depart for Los Angeles if Team USA advanced.
“It’s a good bridge to the season,” said the right-hander, who will join his teammates in the Classic, catcher Buster Posey and shortstop Brandon Crawford.
Melancon said he has watched past World Baseball Classics and appreciated the nationalistic pride they bring to the game.