Ben Margot/2013 AP file photoWhile the Giants gave Marco Scutaro a nice contract after helping them win the 2012 World Series

Giants might have short leash when Scutaro returns from injury

Nobody will ever be able to accuse the Giants of a lack of loyalty — and that's a bigger deal than it seems. You certainly don't see much loyalty from players these days, when free-agent movement is rarely based on anything other than top dollar, and that gives teams a built-in excuse to be every bit as cold and calculating.

The Giants, though, buck the trend. Help win a ring? Here's a few more bucks for the effort, maybe an extra year or two and who cares if we all know you're getting rewarded for an insanely well-timed stretch in which you played out of your tree? Who cares if you're likely on the downside of your career, unlikely to replicate that glorious stretch? You're part of the legend, part of the family, and family sticks together.

It might drive some fans nuts, and it's not always the best baseball or business decision, but it's something to which the Giants have clearly committed, and there's a certain nobility in it.

Loyalty has its limits, though, and the Giants' loyalty might get a pretty stiff — no pun intended — test if second baseman Marco Scutaro ever gets to the point where he can drag his vulnerable 38-year-old body, banged up by 12 years of grinding for six big-league teams in a variety of roles, back onto the field.

We all know the Giants in general and manager Bruce Bochy in particular love them some veterans, old-school through and through. And the old school says you don't lose your gig to injury. So do they simply plug Scoot back in?

They will if Scutaro is ready anytime soon, given that Brandon Hicks punches out every three plate appearances and gets on base at roughly the same cruddy clip. But what if Scutaro struggles upon his return? Hicks' defense has been plenty passable, and as hard as he works you have to assume he'll clean some things up at the plate.

There's this, as well: Hicks has already shown that he can pound balls out of the yard at a clip Scutaro couldn't dream of matching, and the Giants and Bochy love them some long balls, too. This year's team, remember, is heavily dependent on going deep.

It'll be nice to see the 2012 hero back in action. Good dude, great story. He deserves a shot at his old job.

But not much of one. The rope needs to be short. The loyalty was shown with the contract, and that's quite enough.

Brandon HicksMarco ScutaroMLBSan Francisco Giants

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