Is Marco Scutaro clearly the starting shortstop for the Red Sox?
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Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro
There was an excellent article about Marco Scutaro in today’s Boston Globe. Columnist Nick Cafardo crafted an insightful story in which he detailed the shortstop’s health issues last season, providing a considerable amount of behind-the-scenes information that fans had not previously known. But does that mean Scutaro should be the Red Sox’ starting shortstop in 2011?
To a certain extent, Cafardo’s column comes across as a piece prepared by the Red Sox PR staff, an article the team would want to distribute in order to minimize (end?) the debate as to whether Scutaro or Jed Lowrie should be the starter when the season starts in Texas late next week. I’m sorry to sound cynical. While I know Dr Charles Steinberg has left the building, the column has the doc’s fingerprints all over it.
The Sox front office has had a horrible track record since dealing Nomar Garciaparra at the trade deadline in 2004. There has been a procession of shortstops go through the proverbial revolving door ever since: Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, Alex Cora, Alex Gonzalez, Lowrie and Scutaro, among others. I never understood the reasons Theo & Company dispatched Gonzalez last winter (and I argued at the time the decision was a drastic mistake)… the team preferred Scutaro and bestowed a two-year, $12.5 million contract on him.
Overall, his perforance last year wasn’t especially good… but the truth of the matter is that it wasn’t especially bad, either. And the Cafardo column helps to put his struggles in context. A couple of weeks ago, we were spoon-fed the information that Scutaro dealt with a pinched nerve in his neck early in the year and that he dealt with it throughout the season… we also learned he experienced an on-going problem with his shoulder. Today we learned that his shoulder had actually atrophied:
Cafardo: “(H)e often showed reporters the difference in size between his biceps. It was amazing how he managed, but he fought through it.” (Like I said, it sounds like it was prepared by someone on the Red Sox paid to fluff and massage egos)
Scutaro said he played through considerable because he didn’t want to cede what he had worked so hard to achieve – “a chance to start in the major leagues.” Cafardo quoted Scutaro as saying: “I spent so much time on the bench (early in my big league career) that I always want to play.”
So he played.
He also played because of the succession of injuries that befell his teammates. Pedroia couldn’t play. Youkilis couldn’t play. Martinez couldn’t play. Ellsbury couldn’t play. But Scutaro could – it just hurt to do so. He sucked it up: “When you’re a little guy like me, you have to be tough. You don’t have any choice.’”
But does all of this mean he should be the starting shortstop in 2011? Opinions seem to be split on the subject. IMO, that is why the PR Machine is in overdrive – so people will accept the fact that Scutaro WILL be the starter, at least at the beginning of the season. (So sayeth the shepherd…)
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