It’s nice to have ringers.
When PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler put out a lineup card on Saturday that included rehabbing Boston Red Sox veterans Marco Scutaro and Darnell McDonald, Durham manager Charlie Montoyo cracked, “Are Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez showing up tomorrow?”
The reinforcements proved valuable as Scutaro went 1-for-4 and McDonald went 2-for-4 including a towering 3-run home run, as Pawtucket beat Durham 7-1 to win its fifth game in a row.
(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
Scutaro was playing for the first time since May 7th after going on the disabled list due to an oblique strain that he suffered in late April.
“It was the last series that we played in Baltimore (April 26-28),” Scutaro told me. “I was taking batting practice and I felt a little pinch in my oblique. I didn’t really pay attention to it because I’ve been playing for 16 years and I’ve never had that before. I didn’t say anything and then about a week-and-a-half later it got worse. The last game that I played in, I fouled off a ball in my second at-bat and it was pretty painful. I was having a hard time just breathing. At that point, I definitely had to say something and they told me that this injury is kind of tricky. When you think you’re feeling good, you’re probably not ready. You go to swing and you irritate it again and you can lose 4 to 8 weeks, or something like that. So I did everything that they told me to do.”
Scutaro is scheduled to play for the PawSox on Sunday and Monday in Durham before rejoining the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. With Jed Lowrie batting .293, Scutaro expects to be in a reserve role when he returns to Boston’s roster.
“Jed is playing very well, so I’ll probably play twice a week – I don’t really know – I’m just going to try to be ready for any situation and try to help the team,” Scutaro said. “I just want to finish rehab and be back on the field. It’s kind of boring just watching and doing nothing.”
Scutaro’s brief stint with Pawtucket has an added benefit and it gives him time to mentor 21-year-old Jose Iglesias – a role that Marco embraced in spring training.
“He’s a really good defensive player – everybody knows that – and I think he’s got a great future in this organization,” Scutaro said. “He’s a great kid too. I’m becoming very good friends with him. We work out together in the off-season in Miami and I’m just trying to teach him a lot of things. Game situations…how to handle himself in the clubhouse…all that kind of stuff. When you’re young, you don’t really know how things work and I’m trying to prepare him.”
Was there a veteran that did that for Scutaro when he was beginning his career?
“When I got to the big leagues with the Mets in ’02, Edgardo Alfonzo was the one that taught me things,” Marco said. “He gave me advice on how early I should get to the ballpark, how often I should take early hitting, he told me not to be too loud in the clubhouse, respect the veterans, and all that kind of stuff. When you’ve never been there, you don’t know what to do and how to act. When somebody tells you those things, it’s nice to know.”
Scutaro is in his 10th major league season, but was hardly an overnight success. Marco spent 7 ½ years in the minors before making his major league debut – including parts of 7 straight seasons in the International League.
“I’ve been lucky I guess,” Scutaro said. “Sometimes, what you need is an opportunity and some guys never get it. When I got my opportunity in ’04, unfortunately it was because a lot of guys got hurt, but I guess God was looking down and said, ‘Let’s open a little space for this guy.’ It’s hard man. I spent a lot of years in the minors and I’ve been coming to Durham since ’97 when it was a Single-A team for the Braves. So it’s kind of nice coming back here and reliving some old memories.”
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The PawSox will look for their first 6-game winning streak of the season on Sunday as they face the Durham Bulls at 5:05. We’ll have radio coverage beginning at 4:50 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com, or you can watch the game live on NESN.
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