Giants notes: Scutaro's health a wild card as four spots remain

Giants notes: Scutaro's health a wild card as four spots remain
March 23, 2014, 6:45 pm
Share This Post

Marco Scutaro returned to the field on Sunday, after getting another epidural to help his back, and participated in light practice. (USATSI)

Programming note: Giants Insider Andrew Baggarly is in Arizona; check back for his coverage throughout spring training and watch SportsNet Central nightly at 6 and 10:30 p.m. for all the day’s MLB news.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – After sending down George Kontos and Dan Runzler and requesting release waivers on Tony Abreu on Sunday, the Giants are down to 29 players for 25 spots.

I can’t ever remember them trimming back this much this early. There’s still three more games here before they break camp, and then three Bay Bridge exhibitions.

[RELATED: Lincecum hit hard in Cactus League finale]

But it’s clear management knows who’s going to be on the team, and they want to give players the courtesy of filling them in so they can prepare for their seasons.

I spelled out the bullpen situation in the story on Kontos and Runzler. As for the bench, there’s really just one wild card left in the deck: whether second baseman Marco Scutaro begins the season on the disabled list.

If he does, Ehire Adrianza and hot-hitting non-roster invitee Brandon Hicks both make the club. Manager Bruce Bochy called Hicks into his office Sunday, and while he wouldn’t divulge any details, you can bet the skipper didn’t deliver any bad news.

The expectation right now has to be that Scutaro will begin on the DL. He returned to the field on Sunday, three days after getting another epidural to help his ailing back, and participated in light baseball activities. But there was barely any rotation in his torso when he took some cuts in the cage.

[RELATED: Sandoval turns down Giants' three-year, $40 million offer]

There’s one more unofficial call to make and that’s picking a No.5 outfielder between Tyler Colvin and Juan Perez. From my view, this looks like an easy call. Colvin really hasn’t impressed and his back is not 100 percent. The Giants need to reestablish pitching and defense to rebrand themselves as contenders, and you already know Perez is dynamic with a glove. He’s also hitting .313 with a Cactus League-best eight doubles.

So best guess on the bench: Hicks, Adrianza, Perez, Gregor Blanco and Hector Sanchez. That makes two right-handed bats, a lefty bat and two switch-hitters.

Giants notes: Michael Morse drew a pinch walk and was lifted for a pinch runner, but Bruce Bochy insisted he was just being ultra cautious with the left fielder’s tender calf. Morse will DH on Monday and he’s getting antsy about logging some more innings in left field to make sure he’s ready for the season … At least Angel Pagan’s back looks to be nearer to a non-issue. He was a busy guy while playing seven innings Sunday … Given Morse’s situation, it’s a nice time for Gregor Blanco to start heating up. He’s got seven hits in his last 15 at-bats, including two triples. Blanco sprinted all the way around the bases Sunday, getting credit for a two-run triple and then rushing home when the Royals’ second baseman dropped a relay throw. The hit put the Giants up 9-7 in a 13-9 victory … Brandon Belt had two walks and two hits, and Bochy said he plans to give him a lot of innings in these final exhibitions … Ehire Adrianza broke out of a slump by crushing a pitch over the Charro Lodge in right field for his third homer of the spring … According to the Giants’ gun, Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura hit 102 mph with a pitch to Buster Posey in the first inning. Goodness … No matter how bad your day was, Tony Abreu’s was worse. He’s out $559,000 after the Giants placed him on release waivers. He still gets to keep $186,000 of his salary, though.