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Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Six quick hits: Marco Scutaro

By Gordon Edes

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Six quick hits on Marco Scutaro, the new Red Sox shortstop who spent his first day in camp Wednesday:

1. High-end company: Playing alongside a Gold Glove third baseman like Adrian Beltre will be nothing new for Scutaro. In Oakland, he played next to Eric Chavez, winner of six Gold Gloves. In Toronto, he played alongside Scott Rolen, who won seven Gold Gloves while in the National League.

“Their styles are different,’’ Scutaro said of Beltre, who won two Gold Gloves after Chavez’s run before being beaten out in 2009 by Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria. “But they’re both really good. They get everything.’’

Scutaro’s original position after signing with the Indians in 1995 was third base. He played there in the Dominican Summer League.

2. Use me, don’t abuse me: Scutaro has played all four infield positions, left and right fields, and served as DH in his big league career. Until starting 143 games at short for the Jays last season, the most games he’d played at any position was the 106 he played at second base for Oakland in 2004.

“I don’t know what to say,’’ he said about not becoming a starter until age 33. “Sometimes you have no control over that stuff. For four years in Oakland I was a utility guy and played 100 games every year. Sometimes it’s better for the team to be a utility guy,’’

3. Familiar faces: Scutaro made his big league debut for the Mets on July 21, 2002, entering the game as a second baseman as part of a double switch. The man whose spot he took in the batting order: Mo Vaughn. His shortstop was John Valentin. Behind him in center field was Jay Payton.

4. Small ball: Scutaro has 50 home runs in 2,741 big league at-bats. There were 13 players who were active in 2009 that had fewer home runs in 2,700 or more ABs. Three played for the Red Sox: Alex Cora (35), Freddy Sanchez (38) and Dave Roberts (23). A fourth, David Eckstein (34), was in the Sox system. Scutaro hit a career-high dozen home runs for the Blue Jays in 2009.

5. Sorry, this base is occupied: Only two AL shortstops, Derek Jeter of the Yankees and Jason Bartlett of the Rays, had a higher on-base percentage than Scutaro last season. Jeter was .406, Bartlett .389, and Scutaro .379.

6. Get the tape measure: Scutaro is listed at 5-foot-10, one inch taller than the listed height of second baseman Dustin Pedroia. “What do you think,’’ Scutaro said, elevating to maximum height, when asked who is taller.