Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro was able to take batting practice on the field Wednesday in camp, but it was his first time doing so this spring and he remains questionable for the beginning of the 2014 regular season because of back problems that have become a chronic source of discomfort.
Scutaro told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that he “played through worse last year,” but he has yet to appear in a Cactus League game and there’s been no indication that his debut will happen soon.
Tony Abreu, Joaquin Arias, and Ehire Adrianza are among the Giants’ unexciting internal options to handle second base in Scutaro’s potential early-season absence.
Scutaro, 38, signed a three-year, $20 million contract with San Francisco in December 2012 — about a month after helping the Giants to a World Series title. He will hobble his way into the second year of that deal.
Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.
Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.
Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.