Giants send down Belt to make room for Ross

April 20, 2011, 6:20 pm
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April 20, 2011

Rookie first baseman Brandon Belt was informed that he'd been optioned to Triple-A Fresno, Belt told early Wednesday morning, and the Giants made the move official minutes later.San Francisco needed to make room on its 25-man roster for the activation of outfielder Cody Ross, who opened the season on the disabled list with a strained right calf.Belt, who turned 23 on Wednesday, tore through the minor leagues and the Arizona Fall League in 2010, cementing his status as the top prospect in the Giants organization.He made the Opening Day roster after a strong showing at spring training, bumping incumbent starting first baseman Aubrey Huff to the outfield, but after homering in his second game of the regular season Belt slipped into funk that left him batting .192 over 17 games through Tuesday."I'm just not squaring up balls that I should and can square up," Belt told "I've got a minor timing thing I need to work on, but it's not a big deal. ... It's not like I've felt overmatched by anyone uphere."Bobby Evans, the Giants' vice president of baseball operations, said big-league team's recent success -- nine wins in 12 games entering Wednesday's series finale in Colorado -- provides the luxury of being "conservative" with Belt by sending him to Fresno to let him work on some swing changes away from the spotlight."I've been flying open a little early with my right shoulder," Belt said. "So I need to close it up a little bit and go back to the way I was doing things last year."I can't really say I'm all that upset. I haven't been playing well, and other guys have. But I'm confident I'll get back to where I need to be, and hopefully that gets me back in the big-league lineup before long."With Belt gone and Ross back in the mix, Huff, who had been starting in right field, moves back to first base while Ross reclaims the right-field role out of which he starred for the Giants during last season's run to the World Series title.
Evans on Wednesday afternoon told that, Belt, who played outfield and pitcher before being moved to first base at the University of Texas, is likely to see more playing time in the outfield at Fresno than at first. But he will see time at both positions, Evans emphasized.