Overshadowed just a bit by the Yasiel Puig dust-up with Madison Bumgarner on Friday night is the fact that the San Francisco Giants will have to move forward without the services of first baseman Brandon Belt for as much as six weeks with a broken left thumb. Belt suffered the injury in the top of the second inning when he was hit on the left hand with a pitch from Dodgers starter Paul Maholm.
Initially, it appeared there was reason for hope as Belt stayed in to run the bases, but that hope vanished when Belt was pulled before the Giants took the field defensively. At that point he was sent for X-rays which revealed the break.
That's not the news Giants fans hoped for late Friday night, but life moves on quickly as their series with Los Angeles continues on Saturday.
“When I looked at it, I said, `That is not good,’” Bochy said. “It was just locked up … You lost your first baseman and that’s a blow for us. He hits in the heart of our order. It’s the old bittersweet thing.”
Bochy may be understating it a bit. Belt, 26, came into Friday's game hitting .264/.312/.504 with nine homers, four doubles and three stolen bases. He's been a stabilizing force in their offense, and an All-Star candidate over the first few weeks. Now the Giants have to figure out a way to replace that production, which it appears they'll try to do from within.
Bochy mentioned a rotation of Buster Posey, Michael Morse and Hector Sanchez. He also mentioned Adam Duvall, who hit his 11th home run for Triple-A Fresno on Friday and is already on the 40-man roster.
Of course Posey has logged his fair share of games at first base over the years when Bochy wasn't ready to commit to Belt on a full-time basis. The transition wouldn't be difficult for him. In fact, it might even serve him well later in the season if he can save some early season wear on his legs.
As for the beaning itself, it appeared to be unintentional and the Giants have gone on record stating as much. It was just a pitch that got away from Maholm, and it in no way fueled the heated exchange between Puig and Bumgarner later in the game. That was an isolated incident. The Belt injury was an unfortunate incident, but one that could certainly throw their offense off track in the upcoming weeks.
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