2B Marco Scutaro designated for assignment by Giants as he recovers from back surgery

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SAN FRANCISCO — Second baseman Marco Scutaro was designated for assignment by the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday as he recovers from back surgery.

The Giants said they plan to retain Scutaro and continue working with him through his rehabilitation following back surgery that could end his career. Dr. Michael Wang performed a fusion last month in Miami to alleviate the troublesome area at level L-2/L-3 of Scutaro's spine. It will be four-to-six months before doctors determine whether Scutaro can play baseball again.

Assistant general manager Bobby Evans said Scutaro is he's "not yet pain-free, which isn't uncommon after surgery."

The defending World Series champions owe Scutaro $6 million for 2015, the final season of a $20 million, three-year contract signed in December 2012. San Francisco needed to clear room on the 40-man roster for outfielder Nori Aoki, who received a $4.7 million, one-year deal this week.

The 39-year-old Scutaro, a journeyman infielder who became the surprising 2012 NL Championship Series MVP, played in only five games last season — all in July — because of recurring back problems that landed him on the disabled list for good July 25. He is now resting at home and will soon begin the long rehabilitation program post-surgery.

Scutaro had known he might need the operation in order to give him a quality of life even just in his day-to-day schedule off the baseball field.

In parts of 13 major league seasons with the Giants, Oakland, New York Mets, Boston, Toronto and Colorado, Scutaro is a career .277 hitter with 77 home runs and 509 RBIs with 269 doubles and 21 triples.

Scutaro put up remarkable numbers in 2012 after joining the Giants from the Colorado Rockies on July 27. He batted .362 with three homers and 44 RBIs in 61 regular-season games with the Giants.

In a seven-game 2012 NL Championship Series against St. Louis, Scutaro had six multihit games and matched an LCS record with 14 hits.

He batted .500 (14 for 28) with four RBIs in the NLCS, playing in his second postseason and first since 2006 with Oakland. He became the first player in major league history with six multihit games in an LCS.

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