AT&T Park — Injured San Francisco Giants closer Mark Melancon threw to hitters during live batting practice on Thursday, and while the outing by their closer was encouraging for the Giants, it didn’t go off without a hitch.
Melancon (elbow strain) threw 20 pitches, and looked good enough that he’ll soon head out on what should be a two-week minor league rehab assignment, with the Giants wanting him to throw on back-to-back days before he returns to the active roster from the 60-day disabled list.
While Melancon was working inside on Thursday, he hit outfielder Mac Williamson — working his way back from a concussion — in the wrist. Williamson shook it off, though, and continued hitting.
Williamson is on-track to return from his concussion — suffered the concussion on a crash into the left field wall at AT&T on April 24 against the Washington Nationals. He was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list four days later, but has not returned.
“He’s doing great,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Checked with him yesterday, and showed no symptoms. I think it’s going to be real soon.”
Williamson would likely head to the minors to get some at-bats before facing big league pitching again. Bochy mentioned that the Giants are looking for him to get around 40 rehab at-bats before he returns.
San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner (finger) played long toss on Thursday before fans entered the park. The left-hander has not thrown since he broke his left pinky in a spring training start against the Kansas City Royals on March 23, but is getting closer to returning. He will throw a 40-pitch bullpen on Saturday, and will throw to hitters on Tuesday in Houston. He could begin a rehab assignment as soon as May 26.
“It’d be great [to get him back],” Bochy said. “We need him out there, leading the staff, and Johnny, same with him, when we get him back. Those are our two horses that we miss, but Bum — we had Johnny [Cueto (elbow)] for a while — but for Bum, it’s been a while, since spring training, so we’re all looking forward to getting him back. You get a guy like that back, it sends a sense of confidence throughout the clubhouse.”
In other injury news, second baseman Alen Hanson — who pulled up lame rounding third Saturday against Pittsburgh with a left hamstring strain — has “come around,” and should be back soon.
The original injured Giants second baseman — Joe Panik — began swinging today, after having surgery on April 30 to repair a ligament in his left thumb. Panik took soft toss and worked in the batting cage.
“He’s made a lot of progress,” Bochy said.
Karl Buscheck contributed to this report.