NEW YORK – As banged up as he’s been all year, it’s a small miracle that Marco Scutaro has avoided the disabled list in 2013.
He could be done for the season now, though.
Scutaro had an MRI exam on his injured left pinkie finger, which sustained tendon damage when he was hit by a pitch June 11 in Pittsburgh. The finger began bothering Scutaro again over the weekend in Los Angeles; he exited Sunday’s game after two innings and isn’t in the lineup for Tuesday’s series opener against the Mets at Citi Field.
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Scutaro, 37, wants to keep playing. He did his normal pregame work, played catch and hit in the cage Tuesday. But Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged it might be time to tell the veteran second baseman to begin resting up for next year.
Will Bochy take the decision out of Scutaro’s hands?
“We pretty much told him that today,” Bochy said. “I’ll have a better answer after I talk to him again. We’ll get the results (from the MRI) and sit down with Marco.”
A bigger issue than the finger has been Scutaro’s chronically sore lower back and hip. One of his legs is longer than the other and he has trouble keeping his spine in a proper alignment. Bochy said he's confident Scutaro can address the back with rest and exercise.
“We think an offseason doing a lot of core work will get that back where it needs to be,” Bochy said.
Scutaro’s back has affected him more on defense than with the bat, where the 2012 NLCS MVP has been able to maintain a .297 average and .357 on-base percentage.
He only has a .369 slugging percentage, though, which would be his lowest since 2008 with the Toronto Blue Jays. And Scutaro’s superb contact skills as the No. 2 hitter were minimized in the three months when Angel Pagan was on the disabled list, and other leadoff options weren’t getting on base consistently.
Even through his physical issues, Scutaro has struck out just 34 times in 488 at-bats.
His defensive woes are well documented. Scutaro has committed 13 errors after making just eight a year ago, and pop-ups to shallow right field have been an issue for the Giants all season.
It goes without saying that the Giants have to run a tighter ship on defense next season. And that’s probably going to mean acquiring a versatile player – ideally, a left-handed hitter – who can start 30 to 40 games at second base to spell Scutaro.