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The Gusto of Marco

Scutaro ready to respond after injury plagued season

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POSTED February 18, 2014 10:52 p.m.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The setbacks that limited Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro to 127 games last year have done nothing to tarnish the optimism and gusto he brings to the game.

Scutaro arrived at San Francisco’s spring training headquarters Tuesday and announced he intends to play a full season.

“I want to get to the point where I do all the stuff every day and be ready for the next day,” Scutaro said. “I want to be ready for 162 games.”

A bad back and occasional neck trouble plagued him the entire 2013 season and a mangled left pinkie eventually shortened his season. His little finger still doesn’t look right — with bends in the wrong places — but he can hold a bat comfortably.

His back feels better now than it did at this time last year though he and the Giants intend to take things slowly this spring.

“I don’t want to put a number on it,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ll go by where he’s at and how he feels.”

Scutaro returned to the lineup a week after getting hit by a pitch by Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Tony Watson last June 11 and adjusted his grip, which led to further problems with his ring finger.

“I had more problems with my ring finger because I wasn’t using the pinkie,” Scutaro said. “It got more messed up but it’s good now.”

He had a pin inserted into his finger in September to help keep it straight after surgery that repaired tendon damage.

Scutaro addressed his back issues during the offseason, working to make his core stronger. He will continue his routine through camp.

“The first couple of weeks we’ll be focusing on getting my back stronger,” Scutaro said. “It was really hard to figure out. I’d go to sleep feeling good and wake up and my back was tight. It was annoying.”

Scutaro still hit .297 last year and was named to his first all-star team. He didn’t like the way he played defense, though, and hopes to make corrections.

“I attribute some of his problems to his physical well-being,” Bochy said. “His neck and back bothered him. It’s hard enough to play when you’re 100 percent.”

Scutaro, the Giants’ 2012 postseason hero, said his injured fingers did not bother him while playing defense.

While acknowledging his displeasure regarding defense, he feels the whole team has something to prove this season.

“Expectations were high and we didn’t play the way we wanted to play,” Scutaro said. “Players kept getting hurt and we didn’t play well. Hopefully, we can all stay healthy and go from there.”

NOTES: OF Mike Morse took grounders at first base. . 1B Brandon Belt remained in Florida for an arbitration hearing. . RHP Santiago Casilla remains in the Dominican Republic but has been throwing bullpen sessions and sending the video to the Giants. “He looked good on video,” Bochy said. ... OF Angel Pagan was in the clubhouse and reported that he was healthy and ready to go. He was reduced to 71 games last year with a hamstring injury suffered while scoring on an inside-the-park home run in late May. Pagan was able to play again in September. “It was important for him to come back and play,” Bochy said. “It gives him the confidence that he is fine.”

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