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


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.

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."