Long Island Ducks pitcher Jon Meloan delivers in the ninth...

Long Island Ducks pitcher Jon Meloan delivers in the ninth inning against the Somerset Patriots in the baseball game at Bethpage Ballpark. (May 18, 2012) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Ducks closer Jon Meloan, 27, has had a career full of fits and starts. A fifth-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005, he made his MLB debut in 2007 before being traded to the Cleveland Indians the following season. He had a two-game cameo with the Indians in 2008, and following brief minor-league stints with the Rays and Pirates organizations, was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics. He tossed 81/3 scoreless innings (six appearances) with the A's in 2009 but missed the entire 2010 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Entering Sunday, he had a 1.54 ERA and nine saves in 19 appearances.

You were a starter at the University of Arizona. How did you end up as a pro reliever?

"My first spring training, I came in as a starter and was doing well. During my last start of spring training, my elbow was hurt, and so I asked for a few days off. They ended up keeping me in extended spring training as a precautionary measure. Eventually, they sent me out to build up innings out of the bullpen . . . Things were going well, and they said if I stayed in the bullpen, there would be more room for advancement."

You had some success with Oakland in 2009. How devastating was it when you needed Tommy John surgery the following spring?

"I had a couple of years of minor-league success and got to the big leagues real quick. I was at a point where I felt like I was ready to take off.

"After I had Tommy John surgery, I got hurt rehabbing that. I signed with the Texas Rangers this spring and got hurt again. The last two-plus years have just been frustrating because I've had a taste of major-league success. I expect myself to be there, but I've just been held back physically."

Have you thought about your career had you not been injured?

"Yeah, I feel like I would have made the team in 2010. If I could have made the team and pitched a full season that year, who knows what could have happened?"

What has been working with the Ducks?

"This is the first time in a while that I have rattled off a 20-inning string . . . My biggest thing as a closer is not to walk guys. If they are going to beat me, they are going to have to hit their way to a win. And so that's one thing I've been trying to do coming in late."

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