Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News reports that the Giants will begin the season with second baseman Marco Scutaro and reliever Jeremy Affeldt on the disabled list. Scutaro has missed almost all of the spring with a bad back, while Affeldt suffered a strained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. The Giants placed Scutaro on the DL retroactive to March 21 and Affeldt retroactive to March 23.
With Scutaro out, manager Bruce Bochy says Joaquin Arias will get the “lion’s share” of playing time at second base, per MLB.com’s Alex Espinoza. Ehire Adrianza and Brandon Hicks will get the remaining playing time at the position.
Grant Brisbee of SB Nation’s McCovey Chronicles suggests David Huff should make the team as a result of Affeldt’s injury. Huff would serve as the second lefty out of the bullpen and as a long reliever.
Announcement: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Opening Day’s games (March 31). It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 1:05pm ET on Opening Day. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.