ST. LOUIS -- Marco Scutaro looked out at a sea of reporters unlike any he had seen in his 11 big league seasons. What would he do, they wondered, if St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday tried to apologize after nearly ending Scutaro's season on a late slide at second base?
"I might kick his ass," Scutaro said, smiling.
Scutaro was in a good mood Tuesday and a grateful mood. When Holliday steamrollered him in the first inning of Monday's Game 2, Scutaro feared he was seriously injured.
A day later, Scutaro said he expects to start Wednesday in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. The second baseman has a left hip strain, a leg contusion and a very sore left knee, but he was able to work out Tuesday at Busch Stadium and expects to be back in his No. 2 slot in the lineup.
"That's what we're hopeful for," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's more optimistic about where he's at right now than when it first happened."
When the collision occurred, Scutaro rolled on the ground in pain, trying to figure out exactly what had just happened. Holliday's attempt to break up a double play started beyond the second base bag and ended up forcefully knocking Scutaro to the ground, his left leg bending awkwardly underneath him.
Scutaro, 36, said he's been hit that hard only one other time in his career.
"It was a slow roller and all of a sudden I just saw this train coming," Scutaro said, referring to the Holliday play. "I didn't have time to do anything. I don't think you can slide harder than that or you'll get the shortstop."
Scutaro stayed in the game through five innings, but the pain gradually got worse, and he started to feel numbness in his left leg. He told trainer Dave Groeschner that he would not be able to make a defensive play if somebody hit a ball that wasn't right at him.
Before Scutaro was pulled, however, he made one final contribution to a game that teammates said turned when he was able to gut his way through the collision. Scutaro hit a single to left with the bases loaded in the fourth inning that scored two runs right away and a third run when Holliday mishandled the ball in left field.
Holliday later expressed regret about the late slide, and Scutaro said Holliday attempted to reach him after the game. But Scutaro left AT&T Park in the late innings to undergo an MRI.
"It was kind of nice to hear from him after he tried to kick my ass," Scutaro said quietly, again flashing a wry smile. "He's a great guy, and I don't think he tried to hurt me. He tried to play a little hard and slid a little late, that's all."
Bochy said Tuesday afternoon that Scutaro had been told not to take part in a light workout at Busch Stadium. An hour later, however, Scutaro took the field to test his leg with a couple of sprints. He even was able to take several rounds of batting practice, twice hitting homers to left. Scutaro said he can swing a bat and run in a straight line, but he won't know until Wednesday if he is able to move well enough laterally to play second base.
Ryan Theriot would start if Scutaro is not available. In either scenario, Scutaro said he knows exactly what Giants pitchers should do to get revenge on Holliday.
"I want them to throw a nine-inning shutout," Scutaro said. "So we win."