Belt breaks superstition, takes Cain's seat


Belt breaks superstition, takes Cain's seat

SAN FRANCISCO Brandon Belt felt like he was going to throw up in the ninth inning. Belt felt even worse two innings before that.

With Matt Cain closing in on the 22nd perfect game in major league history, and the first in the Giants 129 years as a franchise, Belt sat down in the dugout after the seventh inning to take a deep breath.

I sat down and Cainer just stopped and stared at me, said Belt, whose eyes grew wide with panic. Yeah, I guess everything was OK until I sat in his seat.

Pitchers with no-hitters might as well have smallpox. They sit in one end of the dugout, with room to spare. Everyone else crowds at the other end. Belt realized he was in the worst possible place.

I went and sat down next to Vogelsong and tried not to think about it, Belt said, sheepishly. Hey, he picked me up.

This isnt Belts first brush with baseball superstition.

The other day I picked the ball up off the mound and threw it to Timmy (Lincecum) and he kind of looked at me, Belt said. He likes to pick up the ball and start it himself. Hey, you never want to get a pitcher out of his groove."

Belt is finally finding his groove. It took him all season to hit his first home run Wednesday night. He added another on Thursday, along with an RBI hit.

Honestly, what I did at the plate tonight, I could care less about that, he said. It was just so incredible to be a part of this. We knew it was going to happen eventually. I knew this pitching staff had it in em. But it never really registered to me that I could play in a perfect game.

He had a veteran's sense when it ended, though. After leaping from first base upon receiving the final out, Belt tucked the game ball in his back pocket before joining Cain and Buster Posey in their embrace of elation.

Cueto toys with young prospect in Giants minor league game

Cueto toys with young prospect in Giants minor league game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — There is no way to really ramp up the intensity when an All-Star pitcher makes an appearance in minor league camp, so Johnny Cueto instead found a way to have a bit more fun. 

While getting his work in against A-ball hitters, Cueto had a prolonged, smile-filled battle with 19-year-old Jasrado Chisholm, one of the Diamondbacks’ top prospects. The sequence between Cueto and the shortstop from the Bahamas: 

  • Cueto just missed with a two-strike inside fastball, so he went right back to the same spot, freezing Chisholm, who smiled and nodded at Cueto, who laughed back. 
  • The next time up, Chisholm took two vicious hacks, trying to crank a homer onto Hayden Road. He missed both breaking balls by about a foot. 
  •  Before the third pitch, Cueto yelled something at Chisholm and smiled. “I was telling him to keep his eye on the ball,” Cueto said. “Because every time he was swinging, he was taking his eye off the ball.”
  •  The advice worked. Chisholm hung in on the third pitch, lining a single to left-center. Cueto laughed and pointed his glove at the teenager. He promptly picked him off of first base. “He probably doesn’t know I have a quick move,” he said. “I was having fun with a kid who wanted to actually hit against me.”

Nobody has more fun than Cueto, even on a sun-baked minor league field. He capped his day by standing in for an at-bat of his own, and he stood and watched as a young Diamondback struck him out.

The work on the mound was just what was needed: 7 innings, 85 pitches, 10 strikeouts, 0 runs. Cueto, who missed the opening weeks of camp, is ready for the season.

“I feel strong,” he said. “I feel really good."

Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Morse isn't ready to give up on his comeback. 

Morse, sidelined by a hamstring injury, said he will continue to rehab with the organization, with the plan of eventually going to Triple-A and working his way up to the big leagues. Morse hasn't played since getting hurt March 20 in Glendale. He was initially given a two-to-three week diagnosis, but because he wants to let the strain heal completely, he anticipates missing closer to a full month. 

Morse said he's on the same page with general manager Bobby Evans. He will get healthy at the minor league facility in Scottsdale.

"I'll then go to Triple-A and play games and figure it out from there," he said. "I'm going to get healthy and play some games and if that point the team is 20-0, I know I probably won't get called up. If they need me, that'd be great."

The Giants are hopeful it works out. Before getting hurt, Morse had three spring homers and was in position to make the opening day roster. Without Morse, the Giants are light on right-handed power options for the bench.