Referencing Allen Iverson's famed practice rant, San Francisco Giants closer Mark Melancon has dismissed a report that there was tension in the team clubhouse over bullpen stretching.
"I'm shocked," Melancon told reporters Monday before the Giants' 9-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. "But honestly, if this is the thing we can point at and say this is the reason for the bad year so far, then please bring it on. We're talking about stretching, right? Stretching. I feel like Allen Iverson talking about stretching. We're still talking about stretching. I don't want to talk about stretching, but we're talking about stretching."
Manager Bruce Bochy, meanwhile, called the whole situation a "nonstory."
"It's pole vaulting over mouse turds, to be honest," Bochy told reporters.
Both manager and reliever were responding to a Fox Sports report that Melancon shut down a bullpen-stretching routine that had dated to 2012. Melancon signed a four-year, $62 million contract with the Giants in the offseason.
Melancon and fellow reliever George Kontos told reporters that the change was a mutual decision in the bullpen and had approval from the coaches.
The Giants are struggling in 2017, their 28-51 record the second worst in the majors this season. Melancon has blown two of his three save opportunities over the past three weeks and has a 4.58 ERA in 19 2/3 innings in 2017.
"I haven't pitched well," Melancon said. "That's first and foremost. We should blame [the team's issues] on that."