Bay Area Baseball

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April 8, 2013
Scutaro searching for his timing to start season

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marco Scutaro was so consistently good at the plate after joining the Giants last season, batting .362 in 61 games down the stretch and seemingly hitting everything within reach in the postseason, that it was easy to forget he -- like all hitters -- could be prone to a slump.

"It's amazing how consistent he was," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Probably spoiled us a little bit."

Scutaro is 2-for-23 with a pair of singles to start the season, and while it's still very early, he acknowledged before tonight's game against the Cardinals that he's working through some issues with his swing.

"My timing's off," Scutaro said. "My swing's not there right now."

Scutaro said the issue is that he's "jumping" at pitches rather than letting them travel deep into the zone. Scutaro had some back trouble late in spring training -- when he said he woke up one morning and it "locked up" on him -- and said that's about when the problems started.

"After that happened, as soon as I started hitting, something was wrong," he said. "I felt like I couldn't stay back and use my hands and my hips. I've just got a bad habit right now, jumping to the ball, and I've just got to get back and start from zero again, start working and get my rhythm back."

Scutaro said he expects to have these kinds of timing issues at some point every season and that it might be better to go through them earlier than later. It doesn't look good on the stat sheet, but it gives him time to address them before the grind of the season.

Bochy said he talked with Scutaro after Sunday's game and that Scutaro said he wants to be in the lineup to work through the issues. As a veteran, Bochy said Scutaro has earned that right.

Bochy said Scutaro did some early work today and that his back, for which Scutaro is still getting treatment, isn't bad enough to keep him out of the lineup. Bochy said he does plan to give Scutaro a day off soon, though, likely either tomorrow night or Wednesday with a day game after a night game.

"His experience is going to help him a lot as he fights through this," Bochy said. "You have a young player, you probably have a little bit more to deal with. But not with Marco. He's not going to panic. He's a professional, and he'll find his way out of this."

* The Giants were back on a more normal schedule today after their ceremony-filled weekend that also featured some wet weather that forced them inside Saturday instead of taking batting practice on the field. While it was a "weekend we'll never forget," Bochy said, it's good to get back into a routine -- though it'll be interrupted again next week when the Giants play four day games in Chicago.

"It's time to really refocus here and concentrate on the season," Bochy said. "Not that we weren't, but a lot of emotions were going for these guys over the weekend."

* The bullpen has logged nine innings over the past two games with Ryan Vogelsong (5 1/3 IP) and Matt Cain (3 2/3 IP) making uncharacteristically early departures from their starts against the Cardinals. So Bochy said it would be good to see Madison Bumgarner go deeper into his start tonight against the Rockies.

Interestingly, Bochy said right-hander Chad Gaudin, who threw three innings yesterday in relief of Cain, is not off-limits tonight. Gaudin only needed 33 pitches to get through those innings -- 27 were strikes -- as he allowed one hit and struck out four.

In his last six starts against the Rockies, Bumgarner has gone at least six innings five times and allowed more than one earned run only once.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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