Marco Scutaro was able to produce a fairly solid season offensively for the San Francisco Giants in 2013, despite lingering back and neck issues that plagued him for much of the season. Those back concerns have been an issue again this spring and the now 38 year old has also been dealing with a pin that needed to be surgically inserted into his left pinkie finger. He’s yet to appear in a Cactus League game with the team and it appears as though some uncertainty has developed regarding his status for Opening Day.
Scutaro himself feels confident that he’ll be in the lineup, according to John Shea of SFGate.com. He thinks his back is improving and that he’ll have enough time to get his timing back, as that’s such a part of the contact hitter’s game.
Manager Bruce Bochy, however, doesn’t quite sound convinced that he’ll have his veteran available when the season begins, as he told reporters following the team’s game on Friday:
It’s been slow progress. He’s gradually coming around. We still have time. If you ask me, at the end of next week, if he’s not playing or very close to playing, we certainly are going to have to have another plan here.
Joaquin Arias and Tony Abreu figure to get some additional playing time in the coming weeks, particularly as Scutaro remains out of the lineup. Both are projected to be on the team’s active roster when the season begins and easily have the most experience among the other second basemen in camp. Nick Noonan, however, has seen the most innings this spring at second base and could potentially work his way into the conversation.
Brandon Hicks and Joe Panik have both also seen some time at second base this spring for the Giants. Hicks is an unlikely option and Panik has already been re-assigned to the team’s minor league camp.
Scutaro batted .297/.357/.369 over 547 PA in 2013, even earning an invitation to the All Star Game, despite the lingering issues that first popped up last spring. The 12 year veteran has two years and a little over $13 Million remaining on his contract so there has to be some hope that the back concerns won’t continue to be a persistent problem.