Mark Melancon back in Boston after dominating Triple-A
|06.10.12 at 11:59 am ET|
Mark Melancon is back with the Red Sox after a disastrous start to his Boston tenure. The veteran reliever gave up 11 runs over two innings in four appearances in April for the Sox, but he dominated Triple-A in allowing only two runs in 21 2/3 innings.
So how did he feel as he turned in what manager Bobby Valentine called a “lights-out” stretch in in Triple-A?
“It was nice to get out of an inning,” he said with a laugh Sunday.
Despite his early struggles at the major-league level this season, Melancon has turned his season around in Pawtucket enough to suggest that he could be reliever the Sox thought they were getting when they acquired him from Houston in the offseason.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘Was it confidence?’” he said. “No, it wasn’t confidence. I really didn’t think it was and I still don’t think that’s what it was. It was simply aggressiveness and approach.”
It took an injury to Rich Hill (elbow tightness) to get Melancon back to Boston, as Boston’s bullpen has been very strong for the most past this season. Valentine pointed out that Melancon “would have been back sooner if our bullpen wasn’t doing so well,” but Melancon tried to viewed that as a god sign as he waited his turn in Pawtucket.
“It was easier when our guys up here were doing well,” Melancon said. “Obviously you don’t wish for an injury, you don’t want anybody to be bad, so when they set the bar as high as they were, it’s pretty obvious why I was down there kind of hanging out.”
Though obvious disappointment and frustration accompanies a demotion for an established veteran (see: Bard, Daniel), Melancon took his assignment and made the best of it. In addition to limiting opponents to two runs in his 21 appearances, he allowed just 15 hits and three walks while picking up 27 strikeouts.
“After five or six times of [being sent down], you realize it doesn’t help to go down there and get pissed off,” he said. “It’s tough to go down there after you’ve had a couple bad outings, but you’ve got to make the best of it and that’s what I was trying to do.”
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