Sunday, May 16, 2010
#636) MARCO SCUTARO
Marco Scutaro was claimed by the New York Mets off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers on April 5, 2002. He was invited to major league camp during spring training, but assigned to Triple-A Norfolk to begin the 2002 season. An injury to Joe McEwing presented an opportunity for Scutaro to be promoted to New York. His Mets' debut came on July 21st facing the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium. His first hit for the club was a pinch-hit, two-run triple the next day that led to a 5-2 Mets' victory. "We got veteran players over here that pinch-hit better than me," Marco said, "I'm glad that Bobby gave me the opportunity."
Earlier during the same road trip to Cincinnati, his manager Bobby Valentine had not recognized the Venezuelan infielder. Valentine had mistaken him for a friendly fan, when Scutaro introduced himself at a restaurant after first joining the team.
Marco was doomed by a feud that existed between Bobby and general manager, Steve Phillips. Valentine had asked for outfield help, and Phillips chose to promote Scutaro, an infielder who had a few games of outfield experience instead. On August 10th in St. Louis, Marco was used as a pinch-hitter and then sent out defensively to play left field. That area was notoriously a "sun field" at Busch Stadium, and very difficult for even an accomplished outfielder. Scutaro misplayed a fly ball that fell in for a double and proved to be the Cardinals winning run. Afterward, Valentine just shook his head. "Steve told me the kid could play the outfield. Not much I could do," he said. It would be Scutaro's only appearance in the outfield for the Mets.
Marco never adjusted well to the role of a bench player during two brief stints in New York. He was claimed by the Oakland Athletics off waivers when the Mets tried to return him to the minors on October 9, 2003. "I don't look at the Mets as anything other than just another team," Scutaro was quoted after becoming Oakland's starting second baseman. "I don't really care about that organization. They didn't treat me right. They didn't give me a real chance."
Marco Scutaro signed an index card that I used to create his card in the set for my friend, Nick Diunte of Baseball Happenings in Florida on February 18, 2010.