Scutaro to play through injury

Scutaro to play through injury

TORONTO -- Less than two hours before game time on Monday, the Blue Jays had not finalized their lineup for their afternoon tilt with the White Sox. After taking batting practice and fielding some balls at shortstop, Marco Scutaro declared himself healthy enough to play and manager Cito Gaston penciled him into his usual spot at the top of the team's batting order.

After being hit in the chest with a ball in Sunday's 8-2 win over Chicago, it was a game-time decision whether Scutaro would play on Monday.

"It's sore, but I think I can play," Scutaro said before the game.

Scutaro's injury came in the fifth inning, when he stole third base with Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill at the plate. White Sox catcher Corky Miller threw to third and the ball caught Scutaro square in the chest, around the sternum, as he slid into the bag. After speaking with Gaston and trainer George Poulis, Scutaro stayed in the game, but was replaced at shortstop by John McDonald in the top of the seventh inning. Scutaro left the game and was taken to a local hospital for X-rays, which came back negative. He was considered day-to-day with a bruise.

"I had to get out of the game yesterday because when my body cooled off it was really painful," Scutaro said. "Even when I try to sit down it feels like a pinch in the bone. Then they gave me some pain killers and it feels better."

Scutaro added that his chest is sore when he stretches and he can feel it when he throws and swings a bat.

The possibility of Scutaro's absence meant that Gaston would have faced the difficult task of finding a replacement in the lineup for at the leadoff spot. Scutaro has performed well in his role as table setter this year, batting .286 going into Monday's game. Scutaro's on-base percentage stood at.411 and he led the league in walks with 33.

"He's doing a great job as far as being our leadoff man this year," Gaston said. "He's gotten a lot of walks, he's gotten a lot of big hits for us and he's just been flawless playing at shortstop. ... He's shown he can handle his spot."

In the event that Scutaro was not well enough to play, Gaston was prepared to put McDonald at shortstop, batting ninth, and give utility man Jose Bautista the leadoff spot. Bautista's .411 on-base percentage leads the team, with Scutaro in second.

Gaston added that if the Jays are without Scutaro while facing a right-handed starting pitcher, he has not ruled out the possibility of having left fielder Travis Snider lead off.

Gaston was reluctant to tweak the batting order any more than necessary, and Bautista is the only player whose spot in the order has changed regularly.

"I want to keep everybody in the same spot," Gaston said. "I don't want to move them unless I really have to.

"[Bautista] moves around a bit. He's done a good job out there. ... The other guys, I want to keep there."

Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.