Cardinals made 'the best run we could' to sign Scutaro

Scutaro reveals why he didn't sign with St. Louis

Cardinals made 'the best run we could' to sign Scutaro
April 5, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Marco Scutaro went 14-for-28 against the Cardinals in the 2012 NLCS, earning him MVP honors. (AP)

We made the best run we could at him.
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny

SAN FRANCISCO – Giants manager Bruce Bochy didn’t realize it when he wrote his lineup for Friday’s home opener and World Series banner raising, but it’s 100 percent true:

The batting order is identical to the group he started behind Barry Zito in that pivotal Game 5 of the NLCS at St. Louis last October.

The Cardinals couldn't knock out the Giants back then, but they almost wrecked Bochy's lineup continuity. They almost signed Marco Scutaro.

“I thought we were right in the middle of it,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told me. “We made the best run we could at him. He wanted to come back, and we understood that. At the time, we had a weakness in the our middle infield and we knew a player of his caliber could help us.”

Did they ever. Scutaro made a miraculous recovery from Matt Holliday’s out-of-the-baseline takeout slide in Game 2 and went 14-for-28 to win NLCS MVP honors.

Holliday even made a recruiting pitch via text to Scutaro in the offseason, just to make sure there were no hard feelings that would impact his decision.

As it so happens, the Cardinals will be standing on the baseline when the Giants raise the World Series banner. And Holliday is in the lineup. But Bochy insisted there will be no brushbacks.

The Giants, and Scutaro, already got the retaliation they wanted.

“To be honest, I didn’t even think about it until you just mentioned it,” Bochy said to a reporter who asked about the Holliday slide.

Scutaro is off to a slower start this season, with just a bunt single in three games at Dodger Stadium. He isn’t seeing the ball so well, either. A Josh Beckett curveball on Wednesday caused him to recoil in self-preservation, even though the pitch fluttered back across the zone for a strike.

Maybe facing the Cardinals will be just the thing to get him going again.

The Cardinals won’t have to stand on the baseline quite as long as they did two years ago, by the way. (It was almost 40 minutes that time, including standing unnecessarily through a performance by the band “Train.”)

That’s a good thing for Matheny, who recently had back surgery. The manager wasn’t here in 2011, but he said several of his players have grumbled about it in recent days.

“It’s an adjustment we made for them,” Bochy said. “We wouldn’t want to go through that if it were us.”

One of the Cardinals who will stand on the baseline is new hitting assistant Bengie Molina, who is making his first visit to AT&T Park since the 2010 World Series. I’ll write up something separate on Bengie in a few minutes.)

Matheny made a point to note that he "couldn't be happier" with the Cardinals' current middle infield. IReturnees Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma are in the lineup, and they signed Ty Wigginton to fill in.


In other pregame news, Brandon Belt is still not 100 percent but he’s good enough to play after getting hit with that stomach bug in Los Angeles. And the Cardinals bullpen is mostly recovered from that 16-inning loss Wednesday in Arizona, although Fernando Salas probably will get another day of rest.


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