PHOENIX -- Marco Scutaro hasn’t given up on the idea of being an everyday player again, but his back and his body are telling him otherwise.
He just hopes to give the Giants whatever he’s got left.
“I was hoping we’d figure something out to be available day-in an day-out and compete every day,” said Scutaro, who rendezvoused with the team at Chase Field on Friday. “But we’ve tried a lot of stuff. It seems I can’t get over the hump.”
Scutaro said the official diagnosis is a bulging disc in his back. His more colloquial term for his ailment: “Uh, 20 years playing baseball.”
The platelet-rich plasma injection he underwent in May only served to render his left leg nearly immobile for four days. It didn’t provide any lasting relief. Neither have multiple cortisone injections in different spots.
[RELATED: Marco Scutaro undergoes procedure in Miami]
Scutaro said he was able to play last year because a cortisone shot in May of that season brought him lasting relief. He continues to hold out hopes that something will allow him to turn a corner. He feels good enough right now to swing a bat, he’ll take batting practice with the team Friday and he hopes to begin getting scattered plate appearances next week for the Giants’ affiliate in the rookie-level Arizona League. If he can help as a pinch hitter and occasional starter, he’s open to that.
But every swing is like grinding gears.
“You see me today, I feel great,” he said. “Next day I show up like I’m 75.”
Interestingly, I asked Scutaro if he might have changed his outlook on whether his issues might stem from Matt Holliday’s takeout slide in the 2012 NLCS, which was the flashpoint moment of the Giants’ seven-game series victory. Scutaro shocked the trainers when he was able to come back and play in the series. He ended up hitting .500 to win series MVP honors.
Scutaro’s answer did change, from no to maybe.
“You know what? I’ve been thinking,” Scutaro said. “My head’s kind of been spinning lately. I can’t really say 100 percent that caused my problem, but who knows? Probably when he hit me something moved in there.
“Who knows? That day I literally felt that day like he grabbed my leg and … pulled it out of my hip like a (piece of) chicken.”
Scutaro made it clear he didn’t want to start any controversy. He was just answering a question as honestly as he could.
What is his honest assessment of his health now?
“I’m just going to get ready and go like this and play when my back lets me, and when it doesn’t let me, cheer for my guys,” he said. “Sometimes your body kind of just tells you, and you understand what’s going on. The human body is unbelievable. It lets you know, `Don’t do that anymore. I’m getting mad.’”
Surgery hasn’t been recommended because Scutaro isn’t having any non-baseball functional issues. A procedure would involve putting two metal rods in his spine, making it impossible to swing a bat.
Scutaro is in the second season of a three-year, $20 million contract. At least he found one way to contribute by letting infielder Brandon Hicks, who more or less made the club because of Scutaro’s injury, take the keys to his prepaid rental in San Bruno.
Hicks is playing solid defense but his home runs dried up and Ehire Adrianza is getting a look at second base -- at least until the Giants can do something to address the position via a trade, which probably won't happen for several weeks.
Does the team’s first place record make Scutaro at least feel a little bit better?
“Oh yeah, not a little bit,” he said. “A lot better. It’s so exciting, so gratifying.”
Not as exciting as finding some treatment that might help him stay on the field, though.
“I wish I knew what’s going on,” he said. “We keep trying things. Who knows? I always say God’s time is perfect. Things happen for a reason.”