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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Marco Scutaro tried a cortisone shot. He tried an epidural. Then came a diagnostic nerve block that didn’t block much of anything.
None of the shots deadened the chronic irritation in his back and hip that will doom him to start the season on the disabled list. So what to try next?
“That’s a good question,” Scutaro said. “I guess they get a rifle and shoot my back.”
No, the Giants aren’t going to take Scutaro behind the barn. The 38-year-old second baseman has two years left on his three-year, $20 million contract. If he ends up playing 100 games this season, nobody will remember that he started the year on the DL. That’s his assumption at this point, even though he hasn’t been told anything.
But he’s disappointed that his back hasn’t improved despite a spring loaded with rehab exercises and more needlework than a quilting bee.
“At the same time, I want to make sure I get fixed,” he said. “Now that I’m not playing it’ll be easier to get it fixed than when I’m playing every day.”
That’s the big test. Scutaro said he feels no better or worse than when he arrived in camp, but he knows his back wouldn’t respond well to nine innings of pounding. The epidural last week lasted a day and half.
The nerve block injection was designed to pinpoint the nerve that was firing so it could be deadened. It didn’t work. So doctors gave Scutaro another cortisone shot in a lower spot, “to see if we could kill the bird.”
If by chance Scutaro is able to turn a corner, the Giants could activate him after the season-opening four-game series at Chase Field. It’s likely he’ll need to test his back by playing consecutive games on a rehab assignment for Triple-A Fresno, though.
Joaquin Arias is expected to start at second base on opening day for the Giants. Manager Bruce Bochy has been batting Michael Morse in the No.2 spot in recent exhibition games.