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.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.