ST. LOUIS Marco Scutaro answered with a smile playing on his lips Tuesday when asked by a reporter what he'll do if Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday comes up wanting to chat before today's Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
"I might kick his ass," Scutaro said.
Scutaro was joking. But his humor in discussing Holliday's take-out slide in Game 2 was nearly as promising a sign for the Giants as the sight of Scutaro jogging in the outfield and hitting in the cage during their off-day workout at Busch Stadium.
An MRI showed Scutaro sustained a left hip strain on the first-inning play Monday night. He also had a contusion and soreness in his knee Tuesday and was being considered day-to-day, manager Bruce Bochy said.
Scutaro and Bochy, though, said they were optimistic that the second baseman and regular No. 2 hitter will be able to play when the series resumes today.
"I didn't think I was going to feel this good today," Scutaro said. "I thought it would be worse. Normally, the next day is when you kind of feel it the most. But I'm just happy that nothing real bad happened and I've still got my leg there."
Scutaro was trying to turn a double play when the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Holliday broke it up, his slide carrying him past the bag and into Scutaro's left leg.
"I was just trying to make sure of one out," Scutaro said. "It was kind of a slow roller. All of a sudden, I just saw this train coming. I didn't have time to pretty much do anything. Soon as I caught the ball he was pretty much on top of me."
After the game, the Giants objected to what they felt was a late slide, with Bochy calling it illegal. He reiterated that stance Tuesday, but he said the second-base umpire told him on the field that Holliday's slide was legal and his momentum carried him over the bag.
"I don't think there was intent, to be honest, hurting somebody," Bochy said. "But it was late. And I explained my reasons last night. Marco was behind the bag; (Holliday) really didn't hit dirt until he got behind the base. And the second baseman, he's in a position there where there can be some damage done, as we saw."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny echoed his defense of Holliday on Tuesday.
"To me, what I see is a guy who I've never seen one act of trying to hurt anybody, and I would never believe that's what he was trying to do (Monday)," Matheny said. "He was trying to play the game hard and trying to break up a double play."
Holliday reportedly expressed remorse Monday night over not starting his slide earlier but emphasized he wasn't trying to hurt Scutaro. Scutaro said Holliday called the Giants' clubhouse after the game to talk to him, but Scutaro had left for medical tests by then.
Asked if he was upset with Holliday, Scutaro said, "After I saw the replay, kind of. He's a guy who always plays hard, but I think he just kind of slid a little late, but I guess he wasn't trying to do that. He was coming full speed. But to be honest, I'm just happy that nothing real bad happened and I'll be able to probably play tomorrow."
That would no doubt thrill the Giants as well. After joining the team via a July 27 trade with Colorado, Scutaro hit .362 with 44 RBIs in 61 regular-season games, and the Giants went 31-13 when he started at second base. Scutaro is 4 for 8 in the NLCS.
Bochy, meanwhile, shot down notions of retaliation against Holliday today.
"What's on our mind is to go out and play our best ball in the ballgame," Bochy said. "That's over. You have to move on."
Jokes aside, Scutaro made it sound as if he had. Asked if he hoped for a response from the Giants' pitchers, he said, "Yeah, I want them to throw a nine-inning shutout so we win."