Scutaro ready to step up at short with Tulo out

Scutaro ready to step up at short with Tulo out

Scutaro ready to step up at short with Tulo out
DENVER -- The Rockies' Marco Scutaro was not one of the legion of Venezuelan infielders who felt born to play shortstop and uphold the tradition of Luis Aparicio, Chico Carrasquel, Dave Concepcion and Omar Vizquel.

Scutaro was a second baseman and third baseman with the Indians' chain in the mid-90s, when Vizquel held the position for the big club and current D-backs infielder John McDonald was the shortstop in the Minors. It wasn't until he landed with the Mets in 2002 that he added the position.

Yet the versatile Scutaro learned it well enough to play a significant number of games there, and play it as the starter for the Athletics, Blue Jays and Red Sox. He'll likely be the Rockies' primary player there with Troy Tulowitzki on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin.

"I knew when I was in the Minor Leagues, I needed to learn to play short so I could make it in the big leagues as a utility player," said Scutaro, whose start against the Dodgers on Friday night was his 662nd at short in his career -- which accounts for 57 percent of his Major League games. "But I got an opportunity to play it in Oakland because [Bobby] Crosby was hurt for a couple of years.

"[Rangers manager] Ron Washington was the infield coach, and I owe him a lot."

Rockies manager Jim Tracy said he didn't want the 36-year-old Scutaro to wear down from playing short too much. Chris Nelson, who has played mostly third, and DJ LeMahieu could spell him at short.

"I've got to be careful," Tracy said. "You want him to play some shortstop, no question about it. It's a natural position for him. But you don't want to run Marco to the ground."

"Wherever Tracy needs me, I'll be ready for it," Scutaro said. "I'll do the job. Shortstop is a little harder on your body than second, especially throwing."

Throughout the season, Scutaro was the Rockies' hard-luck player, and that luck has contributed to a .257 batting average. Scutaro had four RBIs in the season's first 45 games, but that had to do with his hitting leadoff. Now in the No. 2 spot behind the sizzling Dexter Fowler, Scutaro went into Friday with five RBIs in his last three games.

"My swing is better and I'm finding some holes," Scutaro said. "You want results."