Urban: Giants 'gripping' without Beltran

August 10, 2011, 11:19 pm
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Aug. 10, 2011


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Mychael Urban

SAN FRANCISCO -- Carlos Beltran has a sore wrist and the Giants are off Thursday, so Beltran didn't play Wednesday.It made sense in every way; Beltran is the Giants' offensive bell cow, whether he's earned that title since his arrival or not. And the last thing you want is for your golden goose, however temporary or even silverbronze he might be, to fight a nagging injury while fighting late-season fatigue and fellow contenders down the stretch.RECAP: Giants walk eight Pirates, fall 9-2 to lose series
So give him the day off. Thursday's a freebie. Again, makes all the sense in the world.

Unfortunately, when you're the defending world champions and lucky to be in first place but mired in the kind of offensive funk that Beltran was brought in to help avoid, sense and rational thinking and anything else associated with less than all-out panic don't resonate right now with a fan base finally coming to grips with its own greed.In the euphoria of early November 2010, a lot of fans proclaimed such satisfaction with having finally experienced that long-elusive World Series high that they'd temper their expectations for a few years, soak it all in, give the boys something of a pass.Yeah, and that lasted about halfway through spring training.
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That's why the Beltran situation is officially something on which to keep a very close eye. Hell, given the current state of the Giants, it might even be something worth flipping out over -- at least between now and Friday, which is when the club is "hopeful" about Beltran being back.Not to crank up the volume on the alarm, but the Giants were hopeful that Freddy Sanchez would make it back this season, too. And like Sanchez, Beltran has a very recent and very bad injury history.And like Sanchez, who lost a couple of months of post-surgery recovery time in an attempt to rehab his shredded throwing shoulder with exercise, Beltran is suffering from an injury that's kind of a big deal relative to the rigors of his job. Find a hitter without strong and healthy wrists and you'll find a hitter who isn't hitting.Or isn't playing. Either way, a big blow to the champs' collective psyche. Or should we say another big blow, along with Buster Posey's injury and Sanchez's injury and Barry Zito's continued demise and Jonathan Sanchez's latest debacle, or ... you get the picture.Perhaps you've heard the popular new phrase in baseball when it comes to pressing, stressing and digressing. It's "gripping." Not gripping as in, last year's playoff run was gripping. Gripping as in, the Giants are gripping when they get runners in scoring position. And boy, are they ever.Well, here's another spin on gripping, a triple-grip: If Carlos Beltran isn't gripping a bat Friday, the Giants and their fans will be gripping, and the Giants themselves will cease to be gripping (in that good way) until he is.

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