Brandon Belt checks in from the Dominican Republic

588648.jpg

Brandon Belt checks in from the Dominican Republic

As Brandon Belt gets ready to wrap up his time in the Dominican Republic for winter ball, he took a few minutes to answer some questions via email. Some are baseball related, but I was also curious about the culture, his experiences, and of course the food. --------Hi Brandon! Just wanted to check into see how everything is going down at winter ball. The fans would love to hear from you.I started playing winter ball on October 14th and I'll be coming home on November 23rd. Everything is going good. I've been playing pretty well and I've gotten back to the place where I want to be hitting wise. I have been very fatigued though and I'm ready for some rest, but I want to make sure I finish strong.

Despite the fatigue, are you glad you went?Even though I am exhausted, I am glad that I came because it allowed me to face good competition against good pitchers. As I mentioned, it also allowed me to get back to that place where I want to be as far as hitting goes after a disappointing and inconsistent half year in the big leagues.Aside from baseball, what's been your favorite part?Apart from baseball, my favorite part about being down here in the Dominican is the scenery and going to the beach on the off days. It is absolutely beautiful down here. My hotel is right on the water. On the off days, all of the American guys either go to the beach or the pool which is awesome since for the past 5 or 6 years I haven't had any time to do that because of summer or pro ball. I have had the worst farmers tan over that time so my stomach, back, shoulders, and chest were thanking me for the sunlight.Any weird foods you've tried?The weirdest food I've tried down here has been fried plantains, which are pretty good. Other than that, I usually just eat any American food that I can get my hands on. We have a Champs Bar and Grill here at the hotel so that's where I get most of my food from. I will say that I have eaten some of the best steaks I have ever consumed in my life down here. I don't know why that is but they are delicious.Anyone in particular you've bonded with down there?I haven't bonded with anyone in particular down here I don't think, but I have bonded with just about all of the Americans. I got lucky. I'm on a team that has a lot of cool guys and we all became pretty good friends within the first couple of days. A few of their names are Cole Figeroua, Brett Wallace, Sam Narron, Mike Cervanak, David Carpenter, Everett Teaford, Graham Godfrey and Steve Clevenger.Has your wife been able to visit?My wife did get to come visit for 10 days which made the time go by a little faster. It was nice for her to come see what baseball is like in another country. The people down here have so much passion for the game which makes it even more appealing. We were able to spend a couple of nights on the beach while she was here so that was a lot of fun.Looking forward to getting back? What's on the menu for Thanksgiving?As much fun as I have had down here, I can't wait to get home and spend time with my friends and family. We have so much on the menu for Thanksgiving I can't even write it all down but my favorite is my Aunt Donna's cheese potatoes, my Aunt Nita's rolls, and of course the turkey and ham.

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres

arroyo-giants-instant-replay-use.jpg
AP

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — On Monday, Christian Arroyo made his MLB debut. Tuesday brought his first hit and on Wednesday it was the first homer. Thursday’s game was his first multi-hit game as a big leaguer. What was in store Friday? The best swing yet.

Arroyo hit a go-ahead shot to left while leading off the eighth, giving the Giants a 4-3 win in their series opener with the Padres. The player coaches simply call “The Kid” has two homers in his first five games, and both have come in huge spots. Friday’s sent another jolt through AT&T Park and got a lead to Mark Melancon, who closed out the Padres. 

For four innings, a long-haired right-hander was no-hitting the Padres. Jeff Samardzija was sharp early and he got a nice cushion in the first. Joe Panik and Brandon Belt led off with singles and Panik scored on Erick Aybar’s two-out error. A Conor Gillaspie knock made it 2-0. 

The first hit allowed by Samardzija was a painful one. He plunked Yangervis Solarte to open the fifth and Ryan Schimpf hit a long dinger to dead center to tie the game. Cory Spangenberg followed with a single to left that skipped under Belt’s glove. Spangenberg went to third on the play and scored on a bloop. 

Belt made up for the play in the bottom of the inning, beating the outfield shift with a double and scoring on Mike Morse’s sacrifice fly to right two batters later. Samardzija ran into trouble in the seventh, but with two in scoring position and one out, he got a strikeout and a grounder to third. The Giants put the go-ahead run on second in their half, but Hunter Pence and Morse struck out. 

Starting pitching report: Samardzija has allowed six homers. He’s tied for fourth in the NL with a handful of players, including Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore. 

Bullpen report: Melancon has five straight saves since blowing his first opportunity as a Giant. 

At the plate: Belt reached base four times. His on-base percentage is sitting at a cool .390. 

In the field: Panik made a brilliant diving catch in center for the first out of the ninth. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a sellout crowd. One of the fans looked just like Samardzija, possibly on purpose. 

Up next: Matt Cain has a 2.42 ERA but he left his last start with a tight hamstring. He’ll face Jhoulys Chacin (2-3, 5.90).

Bumgarner diagnosed with Grade 2 shoulder sprain, not expected back before break

Bumgarner diagnosed with Grade 2 shoulder sprain, not expected back before break

SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the most important men in the Giants organization over the next two months won't be seen on the field. Madison Bumgarner has been turned over to Tony Reale, the team's physical therapist, for the start of his rehab from a dirt bike accident. The process kicked off Friday, and a week after they first announced the injury, the Giants provided additional details. 

Trainer Dave Groeschner said Bumgarner has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 left shoulder sprain, which means there are partial tears in his shoulder. The diagnosis was not a surprise, and neither is the timetable. Bumgarner is expected to need two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he's big league-ready. If all goes according to plan, he will return to the rotation right after the All-Star break, although the early rehab process will determine if the timetable can be moved up a bit or if it has to be pushed back. 

The medical process is led by Dr. Ken Akizuki, the team's orthopedist, but outside specialists were consulted. Dr. Tim McAdams, the team doctor for the 49ers, saw Bumgarner and his test results were sent to Dr. James Andrews, the most famous name in the field, and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed Will Smith's Tommy John surgery. All of the doctors agreed that Bumgarner does not need surgery. 

"That's nice to hear," Groeschner said. "It's nice when everyone is in agreement. Now we'll put a plan in place and work on the rehab and get him back. Bum is a very conscientious person. We feel good about the fact that if we’re going to ask him to do something (to rehab), he’s going to do it.”

The Giants are confident Bumgarner will attack the rehab process. He has been diligent in the opening days about icing and getting treatment. They also are confident that the injury will not hamper his unique delivery, although more will be known as he gets closer to throwing. 

In the meantime, Ty Blach will take his second turn in Bumgarner's spot on Sunday.