PHILADELPHIA – Marco Scutaro is playable. But he’s not playing.
The Giants have gotten enough of a glimpse of Scutaro to know what they have, and without just coming out and saying it, they aren’t encouraged. The 38-year-old second baseman isn’t in the lineup Thursday even though he was well rested following just a pinch hitting appearance over the previous two days. A left-hander, Cole Hamels, is on the mound for the Phillies, too.
“I’ll just use him off the bench today and we’ll see where he’s at when we get back,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, adding Scutaro likely would start once this weekend at home against the Dodgers. “Hopefully we’ll get to a point where we’re more comfortable putting him out there a couple times a week.
“With a day game, we’ve got a young guy (Ehire Adrianza) and we’re better off having him.”
Scouts have expressed alarm watching Scutaro’s lack of mobility and bat speed, and even wondered if the Giants should have him hit indoors instead of on the field so it’s not obvious how compromised he is.
The Giants have such deep respect for Scutaro’s ability to compete, as well as his bat control skills, that they are holding onto hopes he can contribute in the second half. But they aren’t cladding him in a knight’s shining armor, or assuming they’re set at second base now that he has returned from his chronic back injury.
Adrianza has a little Manny Burriss in him, making a small mistake or two on the infield or on the basepaths every series. But quietly, he’s contributed here and there at the plate. He was hitting .175 on June 13 but has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games (four of which he didn’t start) while hitting .324 with a .390 on-base percentage.
As for Joe Panik, he’s out at least another day because of a sprained ankle. And in case you missed it, Dan Uggla was 1 for 4 with an RBI single past shortstop and a strikeout in his debut for Triple-A Fresno at Albuquerque on Wednesday.