Scutaro able to laugh after freight train collision


Scutaro able to laugh after freight train collision

ST. LOUIS It takes toughness, and maybe lunacy, to collidewith a train and laugh about it.

A train derailment is how Marco Scutaro described thecontroversial, body-flying takeout slide from Matt Holliday that sent theGiants second baseman to the MRI chamber in Game 2 of the NLCS Monday night.

RATTO: Clarification coming in NLCS

Scutaro emerged sore but expressed confidence he would startat second base for the Giants in Game 3 Wednesday night. And with no majordamage done, he demonstrated a willingness to forgive and forget.

And to laugh.

Asked what he thought about Hollidays efforts to reach outto him after the game, Scutaro offered a Mona Lisa smile.

That was kind of nice to, you know, hear from him afterhe tried to kick my ass, he said.

What if Holliday tries to approach him before Game 3?

I might kick his ass, he said.

Before batting practice? After?

Whenever he wants, Scutaro said, barely breaking face asreporters laughed. Hes only 6-4, 250. No big deal.

Its easier to choose laughter over loathing when the testscome back with just a strain and bruises and likely wont keep Scutaro off thefield for any greater length of time than the four innings he missed at thetail end of the Giants 7-1 victory in Game 2.

RELATED: Scutaro 'more optimistic' about Game 3; Bochy vows no retaliation

Its a win that Scutaro helped to bring home with a pair ofsingles following the first-inning collision, including the bases-clearing linedrive in the fourth that Holliday, of all people, kicked for an error.

After seeing the replay of Hollidays slide, though, Scutaroagreed that it was over the top literally and otherwise. And yes, it upsethim.

Umm, after I saw the replay, kind of, Scutaro said. Youknow, hes a guy who always plays hard but I think he slid a little late. Iguess he wasnt trying to do that but he was coming full speed. To be honestIm just happy nothing real bad happened and Ill probably be able to playtomorrow.

How did he recall the play developing?

First of all I was just trying to make sure of one out,slow roller, and all the sudden I saw this train coming, Scutaro said. Ididnt have time to pretty much do anything. As soon as I caught the ball hewas on top of me and I dont even know how I threw the ball to first. But Ithink I did, right?

Was the slide illegal, as Giants manager Bruce Bochycontended?

I dont know too much about sliding rules, but I think itwas a little late, Scutaro said. As a second baseman, pretty much the onlyprotection you have is your bag. Seeing the replay, he slid at the bag. I dontthink there was intention for me. He was trying to break up a double play.

At least when they slide before the bag, you can use thebag as protection and jump or something.

Scutaro could only recall getting hit harder at second baseone time, when he played for the As and they had hit someone on the opposingteam. Scutaro was playing shortstop while turning the pivot when a runnertried to kill me.

He did not believe Holliday had that intent, even if thecollision felt like unnecessary roughness.

I dont think you can slide harder than that, Scutarosaid. Youll probably hit the shortstop.

Another circle of laughter. Another lightning round ofone-liners.

Do you want your pitchers to retaliate?

Ask them. I dont know. I just work here.

How would you want them to respond?

Yeah, I want them to throw a nine-inning shutout and wewin.

The Giants No. 2 hitter appeared able to provide some runsupport to those pitchers when the series resumes at Busch Stadium. He wasntsupposed to participate in the Giants workout Tuesday, as trainers preferredhe rest and get treatment. But after stepping off a four-hour flight, he joggedin the outfield and then stepped into the cage -- crushing two home runs in hisfirst round of batting practice.

The trainers, theyre doing a great job, Scutaro said. Ididnt think I was going to feel this good today. I thought I would be worse.Its usually the next day you feel it the most. Im just happy nothing reallybad happened and Ive still got my leg there.

Scutaro said he stayed in Mondays game because he felt hecould still move enough to contribute, but his hip pain increased and began toradiate to his groin. By the fifth inning, his leg was so numb that if pinchhitter Skip Schumaker had hit a ground ball a few feet to the side, he wouldnthave been able to reach for it.

A day later, he felt less numb, more nimble and apparently,willing to move on to the next depot.

Giants Notes: Marrero hopes to be back; Posey faces Romo


Giants Notes: Marrero hopes to be back; Posey faces Romo

SAN FRANCISCO — About 45 minutes after the Giants announced that Chris Marrero had been designated for assignment, the left fielder walked up to the locker of one of the newcomers. Marrero patted Christian Arroyo on the back and shook his hand, congratulating him for his first call-up to the big leagues. 

“That’s my boy,” he said later. “I was really happy for him.”

The Arroyo promotion and the addition of Drew Stubbs signaled the end of Marrero’s April run in the lineup. He was cut and Aaron Hill was put on the disabled list, clearing two roster spots. Just as Arroyo forced his way up with three huge weeks in Triple-A, Marrero forced his way onto the opening day roster with a monster spring that included eight homers. He had just five hits in 38 at-bats before Monday’s moves.

“The team is struggling and we’ve got to make some moves,” Marrero said. “I believe in myself and I’ll go down and get back to how I felt in spring training. This is what I’ve worked for my whole life. I lost the feel that I had in the spring. Things were a little rushed. I came in and worked hard every day to try and find it. I’m going to keep working. I haven’t lost confidence in myself.”

Marrero was put in a bit of a tough spot. He played just about every day in Scottsdale because he was trying to win a job, and when he finally did make it, some Giants coaches felt he was a bit worn down. The team’s brutal start to the season put a glaring spotlight on left field, and this move became obvious over time.

Marrero said he likes it here, and that if he isn’t claimed, he will go to Triple-A Sacramento and try to find that spring swing and get back up here. Count Bruce Bochy among those hoping it goes down that way. 

“We thought a lot of him and still do,” Bochy said. “He’s a good hitter.”

--- Arroyo had a 4.4 GPA in high school, so the Giants knew he was smart. He’s savvy, too. There’s nothing like picking up the longest-tenured player on the team, literally. After snagging a ricochet in the fourth inning last night, Arroyo kept running and lifted Cain off the grass. They then chest-bumped. 

“That just kind of happened,” Arroyo said. “He hit it, I looked at Cain going down and saw the ball, went running and got it, instincts took over. I made a throw and got the guy. It was a fun play. In that moment, I was just pumped up. It’s one of those plays you get excited over.”

Arroyo said he heard Cain yelling and he thought he was hurt, so that’s why he ran over. Cain did have an X-ray on the foot that got hit but it came back negative. 

“Christian did a great job handling himself,” Cain said. “He picked me up big-time.”

The best part of the play came hours after it was made. As Cain talked to reporters, Brandon Crawford — who was in position to scoop the grounder in the fourth — was standing at his locker, a few feet away.

“Let it go through next time,” he said softly.

--- Denard Span was out on the field Monday afternoon, but he’ll miss another two to four days with that right shoulder injury. This will truly be a day-to-day situation. If at any point the Giants feel they need coverage, Span can be put on the 10-day DL. 

--- Hill apparently felt discomfort after playing long toss on the road trip. He can swing a bat but he was going to be kept from throwing for three to four days, so he was put on the DL.

--- This spring, Posey was asked about facing Sergio Romo. Here was his long tendencies-filled answer. Posey faced Romo in the eighth and flied out. 

"It was a little weird, I'm not going to lie," he said. "I caught him for so long. It's definitely interesting being in the batter's box instead of being the plate."

Was there a nod or "hey what's up" look between the two?

"I've caught him long enough to know you don't look at him," Posey said, smiling. 

--- If you missed it, the standing ovation for Romo was a very, very cool moment. Also, here's my story on Madison Bumgarner, who spoke for the first time since his injury. And here's the first story on Arroyo, with a fun anecdote about his mom. She'll be in the stands Tuesday. And finally, my game story from last night. 

On night Giants turn to youth, Matt Cain turns back the clock

On night Giants turn to youth, Matt Cain turns back the clock

SAN FRANCISCO — In the second inning Tuesday, as Christian Arroyo strapped on his gear and grabbed his bat, Buster Posey looked over at Matt Cain. 

“Goodness,” he said. “He looks really young.”

There was a time when that was said about Cain, now 32, and Posey, now 30. They broke in as fresh-faced kids, too, but these days they’re the grizzled vets, anchors of a clubhouse that got some fresh blood on Monday. Arroyo brought the energy to AT&T Park and Cain and Posey did the rest. 

The starter, in the midst of a surprising resurgence, threw six dominant innings against the visiting Dodgers. Posey threw one runner out at second to end the eighth and back-picked Justin Turner at second with two down in the ninth, clinching a 2-1 win that felt like a must-have in the clubhouse. 

“I mean, we needed it,” Posey said. “I don’t think you can underscore it. We definitely needed it.”

The front office sensed that after a sweep at Coors Field. After weeks of saying the Giants had to be patient with Arroyo, Bobby Evans pulled the trigger Monday morning. Drew Stubbs was also added to temporarily take over in center. The message was clear: A sense of urgency was needed throughout the organization, and the players responded with perhaps their cleanest game of the year. 

Cain did the heavy lifting, allowing just two hits and a walk before his right hamstring bit. He was pulled while warming up in the seventh, but he’s optimistic. Cain missed two weeks last year with the same injury, but he said it’s not as bad this time around. 

“Last year it was something that was definitely more on my mind when I did it,” he said. “I pushed too hard. I thought we were being a lot smarter today.”

The bullpen backed Cain, with Steven Okert, George Kontos, Derek Law (who allowed a run but shut down further damage) and Mark Melancon carrying it home. Melancon ran into some trouble in the ninth when Turner alertly took second on a spiked curveball. With Adrian Gonzalez up, the Dodgers were a single away from tying it up. Turner strayed too far off the bag and Posey gunned him down.

“It was just instinct,” he said. “He was anticipating a ball being put in play and took that one or two extra stutter steps. 

Melancon emphatically yelled on the mound. Cain watched the final out from the trainer’s room. The win was his first over the Dodgers in four seasons, and while on the mound, Cain lowered his ERA to a staff-best 2.42.

“He did a great job locating his fastball,” Posey said. “He threw his curveball for strikes, expanded the zone with his fastball, mixed some changeups in. He did a nice job.”

The approach looks sustainable, and the Giants need it. Madison Bumgarner had another MRI on Monday and while the Giants don’t have a firm timetable yet, manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged that it will “be a while.” 

In the meantime, the Giants will try to find a mix that works. Hunter Pence was moved up to leadoff Monday and he drove in a needed insurance run. The infield trio of Brandon Crawford, Arroyo and Joe Panik combined for the first run, with Crawford doubling, Arroyo moving him over, and Panik skying a ball deep enough for a sacrifice fly. 

Bochy praised Arroyo for his approach in that moment, and the rookie said he was focused hard on getting Crawford over. It was the kind of at-bat the Giants teach in the minors, and they hope more is on the way. The Triple-A squad is more talented than it’s been in years, and with big leaguers continuing to drop, the depth will be needed. 

As he got dressed Monday night, Arroyo rattled off facts from the night’s River Cats game and talked about how much he believes in the players there. He’s part of a wave that’s coming slowly, a group that includes Ty Blach, who faces a monumental task Tuesday. The young left-hander will go up against Clayton Kershaw as the Giants try to keep the momentum going.

“We’ve got our hands full tomorrow,” Bochy said. “We know it. I thought tonight was huge for us to stop things.”