Categories: Breaking News MLB

Johnny Cueto, Mark Melancon take the mound; A’s build a Treehouse

The San Francisco Giants’ two most-important right-handers — Johnny Cueto and Mark Melancon — took the mound on a side field at Scottsdale Stadium on Wednesday.

First up was Cueto, who threw 35 pitches to Andrew McCutchen, Austin Jackson and Andres Blanco, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The session was the second of the spring for Cueto, who’s taking a deliberate approach to camp after blister and elbow issues spoiled his 2017. The right-hander made 25 starts last season, his lowest total since 2013 and pitched just seven times after the All-Star break.

Cueto is on track to make his Cactus League debut on Saturday.

“I came here and just wanted to be cautious and make sure I take it slowly and not risk an injury to my arm,” Cueto said.

Melancon, who like Cueto saw his 2017 derailed by injury, was next up, throwing 20 pitches. The session marked the first time since Sept. 5 that the closer has faced live hitters. Melancon, who’s embarking on the second season of his four-year, $62 million contract, twice landed on the 10-day disabled list due to a right pronator strain.

Melancon flashed his sense of humor after dispatching McCutchen, his former colleague with the Pittsburgh Pirates and new teammate with the orange and black.

“I faced him a few times, I think that’s the only time I’ve gotten him out,” Melancon quipped.

Ty Blach racks up the Ks, boosts rotation case. The left-hander, who along with Chris Stratton is a favorite to land one of the final two rotation jobs, helped his cause on Wednesday.

Known as a pitch-to-contact starter, Blach punched out five Milwaukee Brewers in three scoreless innings. Last year, Blach recorded five strikeouts or more in just four of his 34 outings. Also noteworthy: This was Blach’s second time facing the Brewers in five days.

Mac Williamson looks to copy Los Angeles Dodger star’s style. The Giants’ backup outfielder spent the winter working with private hitting coach, Doug Latta, per Alex Pavlovich of NBC Sports Bay Area.

One of Latta’s top charges is Dodger slugger Justin Turner. Unsurprisingly, Williamson’s revamped swing mirrors that of Turner — from the low hands to the high leg kick. Competing for a bench job with the likes of Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez, Jarrett Parker and Austin Slater, Williamson knew he had to make a change to stand out.

“I’m not getting any younger,” Williamson said. “At some point you’ve got to have some success and figure it all out.”

Starting in right field against the Brewers, Williamson delivered his second homer of the spring, a three-run shot.

Oakland A’s to debut 10,000-square Treehouse. The club announced that construction is underway on a new fan area above the left-field bleachers that will include a pair of bars, standing-room and lounge seating and a redwood patio deck among other amenities.

“We are committed to enhancing the fan experience at the Coliseum and delivering dynamic and new ways to enjoy A’s baseball,” president Dave Kaval said in a statement. “The Treehouse will provide fans a place to gather, watch our games, and connect in an environment that is casual, fun, and authentically Oakland.”

The Treehouse will be able to accomodate more than a 1,000 fans and will be open to all on a general admission basis.

Karl Buscheck

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