SURPRISE, Ariz. Brandon Belt slapped three hits Thursdaynight, including a pair of doubles, to raise his spring average to a verypretty .407.
It still might not be enough to crack the Giants opening-dayroster.
Even if the Giants send him to Triple-A Fresno to work onsome recommended adjustments, Belt said hell be satisfied with the way hecompeted and performed.
Even if he might disagree with the decision. Asked if itwould be better to make those adjustments in the big leagues or at Triple-A,Belt gave a candid answer.
My personal opinion? If you want to reach a certain level,you have to play at that level, he said. If I need to get better against bigleague pitching, I need to face big league pitching.
Belt was quick to qualify his statement, saying he has everyrespect for the Giants front office and coaching staff.
I hope that comes out the right way, he said. I know theywant whats best for me and for the team. I cant control where they send meand I understand that. Wherever they put me, Ill work as hard as I can toimprove and help the team. That wont change.
Theres nothing wrong with a player wanting to be in the bigleagues. There would be a problem if the reverse were true. But the Giantswanted to see a more confident player this spring, and after following up his winter ball experience with a good camp, Belt said he definitelyfeels like he belongs.
I think its been a good spring, he said. Coming in, thatwas my goal: To have a consistent, solid spring. Nobodys perfect in springtraining and were all trying to get there, and yeah, I know there are things Ineed to work on. But putting the ball in play hard, I feel good where I am.
The Giants coaching staff wants to avoid what happened lastseason, when Belt was anointed the opening-day first baseman but was sent backto Fresno in late April as his average dipped below the Mendoza line. As Iwrote the other day, hitting coach Hensley Meulens wants Belt to stand a littletaller and move back in the box so he can get the barrel to middle-infastballs.
One of Belts hits was a chopper off the hard infield atSurprise Recreation Campus. The other two were lashed for extra-bases. So thisis what a hard-charging giraffe looks like.
Bochy, asked if one game this late in spring could change aroster decision, answered in the negative.
No, we pretty much were pretty close to having the teampicked, Bochy said. I cant say one game will change. Now, an injury, yeah.But not one game.