Every morning and every night is a crapshoot for San Francisco Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro.
He never quite knows when his back is going to tighten up, how long it's going to last and how he'll feel each day.
The only thing Scutaro is certain of, though, is that he needs to start testing his back more if he ever plans on playing for the Giants again this season.
So Scutaro began his Triple-A rehabilitation stint with the Fresno Grizzlies on Monday. He batted second, started at second base and played five innings during the Grizzlies' 6-4 loss to the Sacramento River Cats. The Chukchansi Park announced- crowd of 4,978 cheered his every introduction and play while savoring one of those rare moments when an established Giants player suits up for the Grizzlies.
There is no set timetable on how long Scutaro will be with the Grizzlies, although Fresno manager Bob Mariano estimated about a week and a half. Scutaro has yet to play in the majors this season.
"Just going day by day," Scutaro said. "We'll see how my back reacts. Just taking one step at a time. … It's kind of (unpredictable).
"I have good days and bad days. It's hard to say if I'm going to be good tomorrow or bad. I might feel good tonight and go to bed feeling good and then I wake up stiff. That's just the way it is. That's kind of the frustrating part, too."
Scutaro looked rusty early on, striking out swinging in his first at-bat then going down looking his second time up, both times to Sacramento River Cats starting pitcher Matt Buschmann. But in his third at-bat against Buschmann, Scutaro finally contributed with an RBI single during the Grizzlies' three-run fifth inning.
Scutaro also went on to score before being removed from the game after the inning.
"A lot of it will be how he feels and how the back responds," Mariano said of Scutaro's rehab timetable. "That'll dictate how fast he progresses and how his rehab assignment goes."
About 75 fans crowded the wall near the Grizzlies dugout before the game in hopes of getting Scutaro's autograph. But the 38-year-old seemed focused solely on rehabbing his back and signed autographs only briefly before retreating to the dugout to get ready for the game.
He did sign a few more autographs for a few little leaguers who were honored before the game and stood in front of the Grizzlies dugout. But Scutaro kept that autograph session brief, too, as he seemed intent on just concentrating on baseball.
Scutaro said he's been dealing with back pain since spring training in 2013 and played through it during most of last year. But the pain was too intolerable this spring and he's been slowly trying to work his way back to the majors.
"It's been a battle pretty much since last year," Scutaro said. "I want to be up there. But first off, I want to make sure I get to play some games and maybe at least play one full game with nine innings.
"Backs are hard to predict. You just got to listen to her."
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