HOUSTON -- Mark Melancon was eating a vacation lunch on a Cancun beach with his uncle on Wednesday when his wife walked up to him with a concerned look on her face. Melancon immediately thought the worst, thinking something was wrong with the couple's baby daughter, Brooklyn Marie.
"I hadn't seen a face like that from her since Brooklyn's been around," he said. "I just figured something was wrong and she needed help. She was full of emotions and then she told me the news, and I was just thankful Brooklyn was OK."
The news Melancon's wife, Mary Catherine, delivered to her husband wasn't life-threatening, but it was life-changing.
The Astros had traded Melancon, a budding, young relief pitcher, to the Boston Red Sox for shortstop Jed Lowrie and pitcher Kyle Weiland. Instead of helping the Astros establish themselves during their rebuilding efforts, Melancon is headed to the rough-and-tumble American League East and baseball-mad Beantown.
It was a relatively short stint in Houston for Melancon, who was traded from the Yankees to the Astros in the Lance Berkman deal in July 2010. He pitched in a career-high 71 games for the Astros last season and went 8-4 with a 2.78 ERA and 20 saves, taking over the closer role when Brandon Lyon was injured in May.
"I guess I was sad to leave Houston and the people there, and I was just excited to rebuild and do some things down there," Melancon said. "Obviously, being able to skip that step and right away be on a championship-contending team is a great thing and I'm all for that."
Melancon, 26, could satisfy Boston's need for a closer. He had a conversation Wednesday with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, but he didn't want to divulge the team's plans for him.
"I don't feel like it's my place," he said.
Houston will always hold a special place for Melancon. It's where he established himself as a Major League pitcher and where his only child was born on Sept. 27 -- the day after Dad threw two scoreless innings and picked up a win.
"Oh, it was just absolutely amazing, for not only my career, but we bought a home in Houston and really enjoyed Houston and everything about it," Melancon said. "I wish I could have won a little bit more, but every organization goes through those periods. I was looking forward to helping rebuild the team and create something very positive, but obviously I'm moving on and it's going to be a new and exciting adventure for me and my family."