Well-traveled Scutaro 'would love to' re-sign with Giants

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Well-traveled Scutaro 'would love to' re-sign with Giants

DENVER Marco Scutaros first 48 hours as a Giant were abit curious.

Immediately following the July 27 trade from Colorado,Scutaro didnt react with apparent glee to be leaping in the standings andjoining a contender. He even told Rockies reporters that he hoped to re-signwith Colorado after the season.

I want to be a part of this, Scutaro told the Denver Postat the time. I think they are going to be pretty good pretty soon.

When Scutaro finally dropped his black and purple equipmentbag at AT&T Park the following day, he seemed more dazed and confused thananything else. He didnt seem overly excited to be a Giant.

Well, 44 games later, all of that is a distant memory.Scutaro has been an engaging, energizing presence while his major league best 94percent contact rate on strikes has made him a perfect fit in the No. 2 spot fora team that must score runs without relying on the longball.

Scutaro will turn 37 next month, but the Giants haveabsolutely no internal options in the system to play second base next season.Theyll need someone to mind the position for another year, maybe two, beforeJoe Panik is likely to be ready.

No surprise, but Im told that the Giants will make everyeffort to re-sign Scutaro after this season. His age is not much of a concern;actually, the Giants see the benefits of having a seasoned presence amid aninfield that is on the young and green side.

But what does Scutaro think of the Giants now?

I would love to come back here, he told me. I really loveit here. There are great fans, its a great place to play. More important, itsa place where you have a chance to win every year.

Scutaro even said he would be willing to re-sign during theshort window of exclusivity after the season and before hed hit the openmarket. He isnt looking to shop his services as much as to find a place tocall home.

And really, that explains his confusion in those initialdays as a Giant. Nobody likes to live out of a suitcase, and Scutaro hascollected too many stickers on his steamer trunk over the years. Despiteplaying smart, hard and doing the little things to contribute to a winningenvironment over his career, Scutaro is playing for his sixth major league teamin 11 seasons.

The Giants are his eighth big league organization, actually.He was on the move even before making his big league debut with the Mets as a26-year-old in 2002.

Remember that big Richie Sexson trade? Scutaro said. Iwas the player to be named later.

Scutaro originally signed with the Cleveland Indians, wentto Milwaukees minor league system in the seven-play Sexson trade and then theMets plucked him off the waiver wire. A year later, the As did the same thing.He found a home in Oakland for four seasons before a trade sent him to theToronto Blue Jays.

Even when Scutaro finally got to choose his destination,signing a three-year deal with the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2009 season, heended up changing uniforms again. The Red Sox dealt him to Colorado this pastoffseason.

So you could understand why Scutaro might have felt a bitdisillusioned to be packing his bags last July. The Venezuelan native wasedging a bit farther from his family, too. They live in Miami. He hasnt seenthem since the trade, he said.

Even in Triple-A, it was hard going to a new place,Scutaro said. When you get traded, its going to hit you for a couple days. Ittakes awhile to settle in, like youre going to a new school. You have to makefriends again.

He did that in short order, and not only in the Giants clubhouse.With a .341 average, .808 OPS and 30 RBIs in 44 games, hes made tens ofthousands of new friends in the stands at AT&T Park, many of whom haverevived chanting his name from those days in Oakland.

And lest anyone forget, Scutaro saved the Giants byvolunteering to play third base while Pablo Sandoval was on the disabled list,even though he hadnt played an inning at the position since 2008.

I asked a Giants official why a talented, winning player like Scutaro has moved so much throughout his career. He thought on it for awhile, and offered an interesting answer: Scutaro has played for a lot of American League teams that rely on the longball. It's here, with the Giants, where his skills as a run manufacturer and contact man have the greatest value and can be put to the greatest use.

With free agency on the horizon, Scutaro said he is onlythinking about wrapping up an NL West title and returning to the postseason. Hehasnt reached the playoffs since 2006, when he was 1 for 15 and the As lostin the division series to Detroit.

He hopes for a better finish this time. And a chance tounpack his bags.

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — In a quiet moment in the dugout Friday, manager Bruce Bochy tried to figure out a nickname for his new budding star. During a week where Christian Arroyo has made the game look so easy, this has turned out to be the most difficult part. 

Bochy briefly settled on “Yo” before that was scuttled because the team’s video coordinator is Yo Miyamoto. Joe Panik said some players have tried C.A. or YoYo, but admitted that neither is all that good. The team’s Twitter account spent a few days trying to make Boss Baby a thing, but Arroyo wasn’t thrilled with that one and the experiment appears to be over. In a back room of the clubhouse, there’s a printout showing Arroyo and Buzz from “Home Alone,” but that comparison is much better made with Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman. 

Perhaps the answer is as simple as the path Arroyo’s bat takes to a fastball. As he watched Arroyo field grounders during batting practice, Dick Tidrow was asked about the 21-year-old. Tidrow, the team’s senior VP of player personnel, has seen and worked with Arroyo since he was drafted. 

“We always just called him The Kid,” Tidrow said. “He would turn around when I called him Kid.”

The Kid is growing up quickly. Arroyo’s second homer of the week was the game-winner Friday, an eighth-inning blast that put a lead in Mark Melancon’s hands. The new closer made sure the new third baseman’s homer didn’t go to waste, clinching a 4-3 win that got the Giants out of the National League West’s cellar. 

The homer might have surprised Arroyo as much as anyone. He came here with a reputation as a mature and talented hitter, but power is not his calling card. 

“I’m not trying to hit a homer there,” he said. “Get the head out, see a pitch over the plate, barrel something, just keep the line moving. I got a good pitch, elevated it, and fortunately it went out.”

Arroyo already speaks like a hitting coach, but he is not afraid to admit that there are things he doesn’t know. It’s easy to get film on opposing starters, but there’s little a rookie can do to prepare for late-inning pitching changes. Arroyo consulted Buster Posey and Conor Gillaspie before facing Ryan Buchter, who has been in the division for two years. Gillaspie told him Buchter’s fastball has some late life and gets on a hitter. 

“I wanted to see it and the first pitch was a little low so I got a good read on them,” Arroyo said. 

The second one was right at the belt and Arroyo pulled it down the line for his second big league homer. He had just three last year in Double-A, but the Giants felt the 36 doubles showed that power was on the way. 

“He’s got pop,” Bochy said. “He’s not a guy trying to hit homers. He tries to put a good swing on it. But he drives balls and you saw it tonight. We see him more as a gap guy, but he’ll get more power as he gets older. We’re not asking him to hit homers, trust me, but it’s good to see him letting it go.”

The homer secured a win on a night when a lot went right. Jeff Samardzija was sharp, paying for one pitch to Ryan Schimpf that left the park but otherwise pitching seven strong. Panik and Brandon Belt ignited the offense early and Michael Morse came through with a game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth. Derek Law and Mark Melancon closed it out, with Melancon getting help from Panik, who made a spectacular tumbling catch on a flare to shallow right-center. It was a big first out given that Melancon was pitching for the third straight day. 

“It was going to be in no man’s land,” Panik said. “You give it everything you’ve got. Fortunately the ball stayed in the glove.”

When it was over, the youngest Giant was in for another round of interviews to cap a hectic week. On Monday he made his debut and on Tuesday he picked up his first hit. Wednesday brought the first homer and Thursday was the first multi-hit game. What will the weekend include? Maybe a real nickname? 

For now, the Giants are fine with leaning on The Kid, because many of them didn’t even know how young the star of the week was until he was a couple of days into his big league career.

“I was thinking he was 23 or 24,” Samardzija said. “This has been really impressive.”

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — On Monday, Christian Arroyo made his MLB debut. Tuesday brought his first hit and on Wednesday it was the first homer. Thursday’s game was his first multi-hit game as a big leaguer. What was in store Friday? The best swing yet.

Arroyo hit a go-ahead shot to left while leading off the eighth, giving the Giants a 4-3 win in their series opener with the Padres. The player coaches simply call “The Kid” has two homers in his first five games, and both have come in huge spots. Friday’s sent another jolt through AT&T Park and got a lead to Mark Melancon, who closed out the Padres. 

For four innings, a long-haired right-hander was no-hitting the Padres. Jeff Samardzija was sharp early and he got a nice cushion in the first. Joe Panik and Brandon Belt led off with singles and Panik scored on Erick Aybar’s two-out error. A Conor Gillaspie knock made it 2-0. 

The first hit allowed by Samardzija was a painful one. He plunked Yangervis Solarte to open the fifth and Ryan Schimpf hit a long dinger to dead center to tie the game. Cory Spangenberg followed with a single to left that skipped under Belt’s glove. Spangenberg went to third on the play and scored on a bloop. 

Belt made up for the play in the bottom of the inning, beating the outfield shift with a double and scoring on Mike Morse’s sacrifice fly to right two batters later. Samardzija ran into trouble in the seventh, but with two in scoring position and one out, he got a strikeout and a grounder to third. The Giants put the go-ahead run on second in their half, but Hunter Pence and Morse struck out. 

Starting pitching report: Samardzija has allowed six homers. He’s tied for fourth in the NL with a handful of players, including Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore. 

Bullpen report: Melancon has five straight saves since blowing his first opportunity as a Giant. 

At the plate: Belt reached base four times. His on-base percentage is sitting at a cool .390. 

In the field: Panik made a brilliant diving catch in center for the first out of the ninth. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a sellout crowd. One of the fans looked just like Samardzija, possibly on purpose. 

Up next: Matt Cain has a 2.42 ERA but he left his last start with a tight hamstring. He’ll face Jhoulys Chacin (2-3, 5.90).