LOS ANGELES – Giants first baseman Brandon Belt is undoubtedly headed to the disabled list for the second time in his career after he fractured his left thumb when struck by a pitch in the second inning Friday night.
Belt recoiled in pain when Paul Maholm’s pitch hit his hand. His thumb was shaking badly when examined by head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner, but he stayed in the game to run the bases and advanced on a ground ball.
Belt was replaced by Joaquin Arias in the bottom of the inning. The Giants provided an update in the fifth inning that Belt indeed sustained a fracture.
The Giants’ short-term move might be to replace Belt on the roster with right-hander Matt Cain, who was scheduled to come off the disabled list and start Saturday. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the club was considering going back to a 13-man pitching staff anyway.
As for the longer term, the Giants recently signed first baseman Travis Ishikawa to a minor league contract and could purchase his contract. Corner infielder Adam Duvall hit his 11th home run for Fresno on Friday and is on the 40-man roster, but he’s primarily a first baseman and doesn’t have any big league experience.
However the Giants treat the roster, it’s a good bet you’ll see more starts for Hector Sanchez behind the plate with Buster Posey shifting to first base.
Maholm shook his head and appeared to say “dammit” after the pitch put the leadoff man aboard in the second inning. So don’t count on any escalation of tensions for what both sides are sure to see as an accident.
Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman broke his thumb earlier this season and is expected to be out four to six weeks, but his was a clean break while sliding into a base. The 4-6 week timeline would appear to be a best-case scenario for Belt; it’s likely his fracture is non-displaced since initially he was allowed to stay in the game.
Check back for more information after the game.