Giants Opening Day lineups: Belt benched?

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Giants Opening Day lineups: Belt benched?

Manager Bruce Bochy has posted his lineups for today's home opener, and once again Brandon Belt finds himself on the bench. Here's the way it looks against Pirates right-handed starter James McDonald:
Pagan CF
Cabrera LF
Sandoval 3B
Posey C
Huff 1B
Schierholtz RF
Crawford SS
Burriss 2B
Cain SPNotable changes from yesterday's lineup in Colorado include Emmanuel Burriss at second base (Ryan Theriot) and hitting eighth; Brandon Crawford will start at SS but move up a tick to the seventh spot in the lineup. Aubrey Huff is back in the lineup after Thursday's day off, and he replaces Brett Pill at first base.
So where does that leave Brandon Belt? Benched, it appears.
Belt has now been left off four-straight starting lineup cards penned by manager Bruce Bochy, this after multiple assurances Belt would be back in there after a poor opening series (just 1 for 10) in Arizona. He had just one at-bat in the Colorado series.
Bochy and GM Brian Sabean have pledged that Brandon Belt will get ample chances to establish himself in the big leagues, but at this point, it's looking more and more like the Giants are actually taking a different approach.More to come.Here are the Pirates' starters for today's game:Presley LF,
Walker 2B,
McCutchen, CF
McGehee 1B
Jones RF
Barajas C
Alvarez 3B
Harrison SS
McDonald RHP
Giants Insider Andy Baggarly contributed to this report

Giants trade Chris Heston to Mariners

Giants trade Chris Heston to Mariners

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Faced with a crowded depth chart and a need for a roster spot, the Giants shipped right-hander Chris Heston to Seattle on Wednesday night.

The Mariners announced the deal shortly after 7pm PT on Wednesday.

Heston, who made 31 starts and threw a no-hitter for the Giants in 2015, would have been designated for assignment had a deal not gotten done. The Giants will receive a player to be named later. The move clears a 40-man roster spot for closer Mark Melancon, who signed Monday. 

Heston, 28, filled in after injuries to veterans in 2015 and posted a 3.95 ERA and 12 wins, one of which was a no-hitter in New York. He was a first-half savior for an unhealthy staff, going 9-5 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 starts before the All-Star break. The long season caught up to Heston down the stretch, and the Giants filled their rotation that December with free agents Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. 

Heston made just four appearances in 2016 after being moved to the bullpen. It was a transition that didn't quite take, and he ended up back in the minors, making 14 starts for the River Cats as he worked to regain some of the velocity that was lost when he dropped 15 pounds during offseason workouts. An oblique injury led to Heston being put on the 60-day DL in June and ultimately ended his season. 

This represents a needed fresh start for Heston, who was hopelessly blocked in the Giants’ system. The Giants acquired Matt Moore at the deadline and Ty Blach and Matt Cain will compete for the final rotation spot. Veteran Albert Suarez and top pitching prospect Tyler Beede are among the starters who had jumped ahead of Heston. In Seattle, he joins a team in need of starting depth, and he should get a shot to return to a big league rotation.

Kuiper has been told to expect many boring ninth innings from Melancon

Kuiper has been told to expect many boring ninth innings from Melancon

Over the last three seasons, nobody has registered more saves than new Giants closer Mark Melancon.

The three-time All-Star is 131 for 141 in save opportunities over that span.

Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper spoke with Nationals broadcaster F.P. Santangelo about what Melancon brings to the table.

"Mike (Krukow) and I both talked to F.P. and he basically said, 'He's boring. The ninth inning is boring.' And we were like, 'Really? Wow. We haven't seen that in awhile.' So a boring ninth inning would be good for everybody," Kuiper said on KNBR 680 on Wednesday. "Our fans, it would certainly be good for our manager and pitching coach because those two guys had to wear it."

[RELATED: Dusty Baker: 'I hate losing Melancon,' Giants have more resources than Nats]

The Giants blew 30 saves in 2016 -- the most in baseball -- and Giants GM Bobby Evans made it very clear from the moment the season ended that adding a closer was the team's top priority.

San Francisco is confident assimilating Melancon won't be an issue.

He looks like one of those guys who will fit into the clubhouse immediately," Kuiper said.