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Adopting Mark Melancon for the spring

Mark Melancon

Let's try something I have had a little fun with in the past. It's a little Spring Training game I call 'Adopt a Yankee.' Since I have my finger on the pulse of the people, and Mark Melancon mania is rampant, the highly-touted young reliever is an obvious choice here.

The idea is this. Pick a player who has an interesting story and is trying to make the opening-day roster. Last season's choice was Edwar Ramirez, and I had some fun following him and rooting for him throughout the spring.

This spring the choice is Melancon, who some see as a potential successor to Mariano Rivera as Yankee closer. I will try to bring you every detail I can find about Melancon's spring until the time (God forbid!) that Joe Girardi sends him to Scranton.

We will have a little fun following the right-hander, who will turn 24 next month.We will live and die with every Melancon pitch, and every morsel of news, until we find out if he will head north with the big club.

'Jscape' told you Sunday that Melancon was impressive pitching batting practice to some of the Yankee veterans.

Here is a little more about Sunday's session.

Melancon looked good Sunday, with a crisp fastball and curveball. He induced missed swings, broke (Robinson) Cano’s bat and impressed the veterans.

“He’s got a bright future, there’s no doubt about that,” said Jorge Posada, who caught Melancon’s session. “He could be a short reliever, a closer type. I think he could do it.”

Posada also talked about Melancon’s professional demeanor, the diligent way he works out in the weight room and his commanding presence on the mound. Those were some of the same sentiments I found last June, when I wrote this piece on Melancon, then blowing away hitters for Class AA Trenton.

Melancon turns 24 this March, and Manager Joe Girardi said he has a chance to make the bullpen out of spring training. (The door may have nudged open a little more Sunday, when Edwar Ramirez cut short a bullpen session with shoulder discomfort.)

Ah, leave it to Edwar to open the door for this year's adopted Yankee.

Here is a little something from Melancon himself, courtesy of Mark Feinsand's 'Blogging the Bombers.'

A group of us spoke with Melancon for a while after the workout, and he strikes me as an incredible confident - but not cocky - kid. He knows he has great talent and he believes in that talent, but he's not arrogant at all. He's very matter of fact when discussing himself.

Having missed all of 2007 following Tommy John surgery, it's clear that every day he pitches without any pain is a good one for Melancon.

“Every day, I'm happy my arm feels good,” he said. “You take that for granted if you're not hurt, but once you get hurt, you realize how important it is to take care of your arm. Every day, I'm thankful for that.”