Giants

How will Giants address leadoff woes? (plus lineups)

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How will Giants address leadoff woes? (plus lineups)

WASHINGTON -- They have strong coffee in the press box here at Nationals Park. God bless America.

Below you'll find lineups for Tuesday morning's game, which begins at 11:05 a.m. here in the District. (That's 8:05 a.m. to everyone in San Francisco who isn't enjoying the view of the inside of their eyelids right now.)

Mark DeRosa, former World Series champion, is in the Nationals lineup.

The Giants are wearing special Fourth of July caps featuring a camouflage logo that seems more appropriate for Memorial or Veteran's day, if you ask me. But whatever. I don't make the rules.

Gregor Blanco gets a start even though he's struggling and played to the end of Tuesday night's dragged-out game. That's because Blanco got three hits in that game ... and Angel Pagan is also struggling. He's a .182 hitter with just two extra-base hits in his last 18 games. Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulled Pagan as part of a double-switch in the fourth Tuesday night.

Bochy plan to do about the leadoff spot, which hasn't been nearly as productive in recent weeks? Will he give Blanco a few days off?

"I'll pick my spots with him," Bochy said. "It's fair to say Angel is searching. And Blanco, even though he hasn't been getting hits, he's been making good contact. He just hasn't gotten luck to go along with it."

I mentioned to Bochy that the league might be adjusting to Blanco, who had a .401 OBP through the end of May with 22 walks in 137 plate appearances. Since then, he's got seven walks in 131 plate appearances and the OBP is .279 over that span.

"Sure, that's the game plan," Bochy said. "Make him hit his way on."

It's a game of adjustments. Even when it begins at an insanely early hour.

Oh, and thanks for that pitching change with two outs in the ninth inning of a 9-3 game last night, Davey Johnson.

CF Blanco
2B Burriss
LF Cabrera
C Posey
3B Sandoval
1B Belt
RF Schierholtz
SS Crawford
P Madison Bumgarner

2B Espinosa
CF Harper
3B Zimmerman
LF Morse
SS Desmond
1B Moore
RF DeRosa
C Solano
P Edwin Jackson

Will Brandon Belt return this season for Giants after yet another concussion?

Will Brandon Belt return this season for Giants after yet another concussion?

SAN FRANCISCO — It has been nearly two weeks since Brandon Belt walked out of AT&T Park with yet another concussion. On Friday he could take a big step. 

Belt will do some light cardio in hopes of ramping up the rehab process. That is generally the biggest step for concussed players. Often times, that cardio session leads to a longer shutdown when the player feels discomfort from activity. The Giants are hopeful that Belt will report only positive signs. 

“He seems to be doing a little better,” manager Bruce Bochy said. 

There is no timetable for Belt’s return, but the club hopes to get him back in the heart of the lineup down the stretch. That leads to an obvious question: Why would the Giants play him? Belt has suffered four concussions in the last eight years and he is a member of a last-place team that’s in a fight for the first pick in the draft. Doesn’t it make sense to just shut him down, make sure he gets fully healthy, and prepare for 2018? 

“I know there’s talk about it, but I know for Brandon, he would like to get back,” Bochy said. “You hate to go into the offseason with six or seven weeks of not playing again, but at the same time we’ll make sure he’s completely recovered. If not, we won’t put him out there.”

Part of the shame of all this is that regardless of when Belt returns, he will have missed an opportunity to really put his stamp on a nice season. Belt leads all first baseman in defensive runs saved (12) and he would have had a very strong argument for his first Gold Glove Award. It’s possible he gets back in time to hold off Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rizzo. It’s also possible he gets back in time to shatter his career-high in homers. Belt is at 18 for the second time in three years, and before he went down he was on pace for about 30. The Giants will have a better idea of Belt's ability to return on Friday. 

As for the other concussed Giant, there was less information about Joe Panik. He will be reevaluated on Friday. 

Giants lineup: Posey returns for series opener vs Phillies

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USATSI

Giants lineup: Posey returns for series opener vs Phillies

As the Giants head back home to take on the Phillies, Buster Posey will be in the squat to catch Jeff Samardzija Thursday night.

Philadelphia Phillies (43-75)

1. Cesar Hernandez (S) 2B
2. Freddy Galvis (S) SS
3. Nick Williams (L) CF
4. Rhys Hoskins (R) LF
5. Maikel Franco (R) 3B
6. Hyun Soo Kim (L) RF
7. Tommy Joseph (R) 1B
8. Cameron Rupp (R) C
9. Aaron Nola (R) P

San Francisco Giants (48-74)

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Hunter Pence (R) RF
3. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
8. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P