SAN FRANCISCO Brandon Belt was a blur in the hour before batting practice Friday afternoon.
He zigzagged between his locker and the field, pulled on spikes and rifled through his equipment bag as sweat beaded up on his forehead.
Thats what happens when youre the starting left fielder in a huge NL West showdown game and you havent taken a fly ball out there since spring training.
Obviously, I wont be climbing any walls or robbing home runs, Belt said. But I feel I can do a good enough job to help the team.
RELATED: Giants lineup: Belt to roam left field
Giants manager Bruce Bochy asked Belt on Wednesday whether hed feel comfortable in left field. The first baseman nodded. Belt took it as a vote of confidence from management, which is paying respect to his .372 average over a 31-game span. (Hes blistering right-handers for a .436 average over those games, too.)
Bochy didnt want to take Belts bat out of the lineup even though he planned to play Buster Posey at first base and put Hector Sanchez behind the plate to catch Tim Lincecum. (Bochy, asked about that preference, continued to frame it as a rest issue, saying he wanted Posey fresh to catch Matt Cain in Saturdays afternoon game.)
Belt took fly balls in a rotation that also included Francisco Peguero, Justin Christian and Ryan Theriot. (Christian, by the way, was activated from the 15-day disabled list. Youll recall he sprained his left wrist while making a spectacular catch at Dodger Stadium in mid-August.)
Belt has a new left fielder's glove, but it's not broken in yet. Good thing he kept his old one.
"Dust off the cobwebs," Belt said.
Sure, a postgame three-way hip check might be double-awkward with Belt and Hunter Pence flanking center fielder Angel Pagan. But its likely that Belt wont be in left field the game to the end, anyway.
Youll see some people moving around in the late innings, Bochy said.
Belt has been moving non-stop of the last month. He had a torrid 11-game streak in June before falling back into a funk, and said he learned from that experience.
In June when I had that good stretch, I honestly didnt know what I was doing right, Belt said. I figured Id try to ride the wave as long as I could. But when it was done, I didnt know how to get back to it. Now I have more experience. Knowing pitchers is huge, and learning myself, too.
The Giants need to learn some more names. After Christian was activated and right-hander Yusmeiro Petit had his contract purchased, the clubs active roster is at 36. Theyll get to 37 on Tuesday, when right-hander Clay Hensley is eligible to return from his strained groin.
Petit will be used to give us coverage and is not a candidate to make a spot start right now, Bochy said. He said his struggling rotation will get an extra day beginning with Lincecum against the Dodgers in this series opener, and that should be all the rest they need.
"The more pitching you have, the more you're able to rest guys," said Bochy, who has dealt with an innings deficit as his rotation has failed to pitch seven innings in 11 of the last 12 games. "It's confirmed we probably need more bodies than you normally like to carry."