TEMPE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged Monday what has appeared inevitable for weeks: Second baseman Marco Scutaro, troubled by a bad back, likely will have to begin the regular season on the disabled list.
Scutaro has appeared in only one exhibition game, a three-inning stint against the Angels here last Monday. Since then, the 38-year-old has continued to engage in baseball-related activities, participating in some fielding drills and taking batting practice. But Bochy said Scutaro, whose condition is evaluated daily, hasn't yet felt fit enough to play again, even in a Minor League exhibition.
"Obviously, the chances of him starting with us have gone way down," said Bochy, who quickly added that he wouldn't completely rule out Scutaro's availability for the March 31 opener at Arizona.
Bochy addressed Scutaro's playing status after the Giants' 11-4 exhibition loss to the Angels. Bochy said that since the condition of Scutaro's back can fluctuate from day to day, questions about his playing status are difficult to answer. But, Bochy admitted, "Marco is probably a few days [away from playing], to be honest. I just think it's going to be tough to get him out there before we leave camp."
The Giants play their final Arizona exhibition Wednesday, then will play the Bay Bridge Series against the A's from Thursday through Saturday.
Joaquin Arias is Scutaro's probable replacement at second base. Regarding how the Giants will fill Scutaro's projected role as the No. 2 hitter, Bochy said he and his staff have discussed that subject in the last two or three days. Though inserting Arias into that spot is a simple solution, Bochy mentioned Michael Morse and Brandon Belt as possibilities. Morse batted second as the designated hitter Monday against the Angels and went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.