Jokester Scutaro rewarded for 2012 performance


Jokester Scutaro rewarded for 2012 performance

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marco Scutaro has played 11 years of Major League Baseball, but never has he had a season like his 61-game campaign with the Giants last year.

Scutaro hit .362 for San Francisco, quickly commandeering the starting second position in the field and in the lineup, and parlayed his performance into a three-year, $20 million contract that far surpasses any of the veteran's previous deals.

"I was looking for the best contract," Scutaro said honestly. "It may be my last contract, because of my age."

Scutaro, who passed his physical earlier Friday, is acutely aware that Game 7 of the 2015 World Series could very well fall on his 40th birthday.

"Well Omar (Vizquel) played until he was 55," Scutaro joked. "Why not me?"

For a man whose career earnings barely break the $22-million plateau, the new contract might bump him up a tax bracket, but it wasn't quite what the Venezuelan-born infielder had in mind.

"I was looking for three-thousand-million," Scutaro reiterated. "They didn't get close."

Forgoing money for a chance to win, though, is a concept Scutaro is plenty familiar with. He signed a two-year, $10.5 million contract with the Red Sox in 2009 and admitted leaving money on the table in doing so.

Instead of a trip to the playoffs, Scutaro claims only to have gone bald in Boston. Sporting what seemed to be significantly more hair Friday and popping chunks of honeydew melon into his mouth, Scutaro laughed.

"I have no 3-2 sliders. I don't have to get hit by a truck. I don't have to watch video every day or talk with (the media) all the time."

Until he reports to spring training in February, Scutaro plans to remain stress free. It helps that he's keeping things light. When a U.S. Embassy security guard recognized him in Miami,  but couldn't quite place him, Scutaro offered a helping hand.

"You probably know me from Hollywood," Scutaro joked before revealing his true identity.

His true identity was revealed to the Bay Area when he turned down an offer worth more per season from St. Louis to re-join the Giants. It was hardly a spurn, but it couldn't have felt good for the Cardinals, who he torched for 14 hits en route to the NLCS MVP Award. His .500 series followed the gruesome Game 2 collision with Matt Holliday, and while Scutaro had nothing but positive things to say about his talks with the Cardinals, the thought of hitting in front of Holliday registered.

"I told them if they sign me," Scutaro said. "I would kick his ass every day. They probably thought, 'He’d better go to San Francisco.'"

He did, and if all goes as planned, he'll be soaking up raindrops from the middle of AT&T Park's diamond for the next three seasons.

"It all depends on health," Scutaro said, "I think I can play for the next three years. And probably with more hair."

Venezuelan fans might lose some hair over his intentions not to represent his country in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, though they'll take solace in sluggers like Miguel Cabrera and Pablo Sandoval.

"Gotta save my bullets," Scutaro said of his decision.

Giants fans are hoping the bullets will be flying by the time the Giants accept their 2012 championship rings prior to their home opener April 5 -- with Holliday and the visiting St. Louis Cardinals watching.

Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League


Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League

After being selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants, catcher Aramis Garcia quickly opened eyes with his power. Garcia totaled 15 home runs between Rookie Ball and Short Season Single-A in only 28 games after the draft. 

The next year, Garcia equaled his 15 long balls and spent the majority of his first full pro season at High Single-A. He also improved overall as a hitter, raising his 2014 slash line of .225/.301/.343 to .264/.342/.431 in 2015. The next climb up the farm system ladder was set in place, until it was gone with an excruciating injury. 

Garcia's 2016 season was limited to 47 games played as he sustained a facial fracture in May while sliding into second base. In an attempt to break up a double play, Garcia took a knee to the face. The injury kept him out until the end of July.

When the chance to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions arose, Garcia jumped at the opportunity. 

"First thing I did was call my parents and let them know," Garcia told on Monday. "I was just really excited for getting the opportunity to play against guys who are extremely talented and obviously make up for reps, which are extremely important."

Garcia never did exactly find his rhythm after the injury and finished the season batting .257/.323/.340 with two homers in 41 games. In the first half, the 23-year-old hit .298/.359/.369 compared to a lowly .200/.273/.300 in the second half. 

The catcher known more for his offense than defense, is off to a slow start at the plate while facing some of the top prospects in baseball. Throuh six games, he has gone 3-for-17 at the plate, good for a .176 average. But, Garcia acknowledged he's focusing heavily on his defense in the AFL. 

"I feel like when somebody tries to steal on me, I tend to take it a little bit personally," he said. "It's definitely something I take pride in, something I work on hard every day. There's a little routine I do with receiving and footwork, things like that every day."

Behind the dish, Garcia caught 38 percent of base runners looking to swipe a bag on him last season. Through his three years in the minors, Garcia has erased 34 percent of base stealers and owns a .993 fielding percentage. 

Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series


Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series

World Series ace Jon Lester is all set to start Game 1 for the Chicago Cubs.

Lester will be fully rested when he pitches Tuesday night at Cleveland. Corey Kluber will start for the Indians.

The 32-year-old lefty is 2-0 in three starts during this postseason, with wins over the Giants and Dodgers in the NL playoffs. He was 19-5 during the regular season.

Lester is 3-0 in three starts in the World Series with a sparkling 0.43 ERA. He helped the Boston Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon says Lester is "really, really in the moment" right now.


Indians ace Corey Kluber will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Manager Terry Francona said Sunday that he will go with Kluber, an 18-ame winner during the regular season, in the opener on Tuesday night. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in his first postseason.

Francona has right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin penciled in for Games 2 and 3, respectively. The order could change depending on how Bauer's injured right pinkie heals over the next few days.

Bauer's start in the AL Championship Series lasted less than one inning after his pinkie began bleeding against Toronto. He injured his finger when he sliced it open while repairing a drone.

Also, injured starter Danny Salazar could be available against the Cubs. Salazar hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 because of forearm tightness but he's made major progress in the past week and could be on the World Series roster.