Marco Scutaro aka "The Venezuelan Walker"

Many people I know thought Marco was Italian, which makes sense when you see his name and combine it with his easy going nature. However, the 33 yr old is from Venezuela and has earned his MLB starting gig the hard way.

He was signed in 1994 by the Cleveland Indians as an amateur free agent. In 2000, after spending 6 years in their minors system, Marco was shipped to the Brewers as "the player to be named later" in the deal that included Richie Sexson joining the crew and Bob Wickman joining Cleveland. He was waived in 2002 by the Brewers and picked up by the Mets, who promptly waived him in 2003 when he was claimed by the A's. He finally got a role with the A's and got the playing time he needed thanks to Eric Chavez and Bobby Crosby's health troubles. I'm sure he owes them a debt of gratitude.

During his 4 years in Oakland, Marco never hit more than 9 Hrs, but in his defense he never got 500 ABs either. He was shipped all over the field, playing everything from 1B to 3B and his hitting seemed to suffer a bit as a result of the erratic playing time and the defensive juggling. His average was usually around .267 and stolen bases hovered around 5-7. More importantly, the most walks he ever accumulated in a season was 57 in 2008, after he was traded to the Blue Jays for 2 guys we'll never hear of again. (Graham Godfrey and Kristian Bell)

His trade to Toronto was a blessing to his chances for success as he easily gained preference in the lineup over the defensive minded John MacDonald. At 33 yrs old, after a tumultuous career in the minors and in the bigs, Marco has helped the Jays attain a level nobody would have dared predict before the season started.

In only 154 ABs, Marco has already walked 33 times (leads the majors), has 5 HRs and 3 SBs, and sports a .286 batting AVG. His OBP of .411 is a huge reason for Aaron Hill's success and the huge RBI numbers he is putting up. If Marco was to keep up this pace, he would achieve 178 hits, 133 walks, 20 HR, 12 SBs, and 81 RBI. Not too shabby for a guy who didn't even have a starting role last season.

Marco has been a huge reason the Jays have been able to build a marginal lead in the AL East and will need to continue to perform at career high levels if the Jays have a chance of winning a pennant. Nay sayers all over the place, especially Yanks fans, are saying there's no way the Jays will keep this up. While I and many others are starting to believe that this scrappy bunch of Maple pushers are good enough to beat any team, any time this season and they don't give a hoot what others think.

Kudos to Marco, keep up the good work!!

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