Mark Melancon says pain is “very similar” to what he felt last year

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Giants closer Mark Melancon underwent surgery last September to repair the pronator muscle in his right forearm. He went back on the disabled list to start the regular season with another forearm injury. Per Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group, Melancon said the pain he is feeling now is “very similar” to what he felt last year. As Crowley notes, an MRI revealed inflammation in his flexor. Melancon, at the moment, can’t throw from 30 feet without feeling pain.

Melancon is in the second year of a four-year, $62 million contract signed in December 2016. Last season, he recorded 11 saves with a 4.50 ERA and a 29/6 K/BB ratio in 30 innings of work.

Hunter Strickland will serve as the Giants’ closer while Melancon is on the mend, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Cory Gearrin and Tony Watson will set up for Strickland. Sam Dyson is apparently further down on the depth chart due to his underwhelming spring performance.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.