Scutaro wants to return this season
Right heel injury may prevent shortstop from doing so
TORONTO -- Marco Scutaro has nothing left to prove this season. As the Blue Jays veteran nears an offseason in which he can test free-agent waters, Scutaro shed the label of utility man and showed he can serve as an everyday shortstop and leadoff hitter.
Scutaro, suffering from a right heel injury with two weeks remaining in Toronto's season, could easily call it a year, and no one would blame him. Wearing a protective boot while sitting in front of his locker, which had crutches leaning against it, on Monday afternoon, Scutaro had other plans.
"As soon as I feel good, I'm going to play," Scutaro said. "If it feels good, I just want to play. I just like playing. I don't like sitting around here and watching the games on TV. I hate that."
The chances of Scutaro actually returning to the diamond this season for the Blue Jays are slim, though. The shortstop said his heel felt even worse on Monday, one day after feeling something pop in his foot while fielding a ground ball during the sixth inning of a 3-1 road loss to Tampa Bay.
Prior to Monday's game, Scutaro was awaiting the results of an MRI exam on his foot. Even without the results immediately known, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston indicated that Scutaro more than likely is out for the remainder of the year.
"I'm pretty sure that he's probably not going to play the rest of the season," Gaston said. "I don't know. He's the type of kid that he wants to play all the time. It's just hard to give him a rest."
Scutaro, 33, has been playing with discomfort in his heel since at least the end of July, but the injury was never considered serious enough to convince Gaston to keep the shortstop on the bench. The manager also said Scutaro insisted he stay in the lineup.
"He was hurt, but not hurt bad enough not to play," Gaston said. "In fact, he wanted to play."
In 144 games this season, Scutaro has hit .282 with 12 home runs, 60 RBIs, 90 walks and a .379 on-base percentage. He has been one of the game's elite leadoff men, drawing a Major League-high 38 walks to open an inning. His 256 times on base also represents the third-highest total in the American League.
Scutaro would love to get back on the field and add to those figures, but his injury might not make that realistic.
"It's worse today," Scutaro said. "I mean, I can't even walk. It hurts like crazy."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.