Belt (.407) proud of his spring, feels ready for majors


Belt (.407) proud of his spring, feels ready for majors

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.

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

The Giants look to win two straight against the Braves and Bruce Bochy has made a few changes to the lineup Sunday.

Atlanta Braves (21-26)

1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
7. Rio Ruiz (L) 3B
8. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
9. R.A. Dickey (R) P

San Francisco Giants (21-30)

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

Belt relates to Arroyo's benching in slump: 'It doesn’t need to be bad thing'

Belt relates to Arroyo's benching in slump: 'It doesn’t need to be bad thing'

SAN FRANCISCO — At this point Bruce Bochy has had plenty of experience working young infielders into his everyday lineup, so he knew exactly which move to turn to when Christian Arroyo dropped into a wicked slump.

With Arroyo hitless in his last 21 at-bats, Bochy sat him Saturday night against the Braves. His plans could always change, of course, but Bochy said he planned to sit Arroyo at least one more game. It’s a move he used most notably in 2013 to help Brandon Belt get back on track.

Belt was in a 1-for-19 rut when Bochy kept him out of the starting lineup for an entire series in Philadelphia. He had just one pinch-hit appearance, but he returned for the opener of the next series in Tampa Bay, notching three hits and a homer. Belt batted .346 the rest of the way.

Asked about that experience and Arroyo's current one, Belt at first made a different point.

“Arroyo has actually been really good for us,” he said. “That road trip we just had, we faced a lot of really good pitchers. There’s nothing for him to hang his head about.”

Belt has actually had several “clear your head” breaks over the years.

“It allows you to reset a little, and with the pressure, you can release that a little bit,” he said. “For me (in 2013) it forced me to make (mechanical) changes and when you have time off you see everything more clearly. You can make changes or go back to something that was working for you before. He shouldn’t look at this as a timeout. It doesn’t need to be a bad thing. You can make adjustments and it can be a good thing.”

Bochy originally planned to rest Arroyo on Thursday in Chicago, but Eduardo Nuñez’s hamstring needed a day. Arroyo started at second Friday against a lefty but got the full night off Saturday. With Conor Gillaspie sidelined for several more days by a tight back and Hunter Pence out the rest of the homestand, there's time for the Giants to contemplate what they want to do going forward.

“We’ll get this sorted out,” Bochy said. “We’ve (worked) him pretty hard. This is to give him a chance to catch his breath, get his mind right, and work on some things.”