Is it time for Giants to ship Belt to the minors?

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Is it time for Giants to ship Belt to the minors?

PHILADELPHIA Brandon Belt walked to the plate in the 12thinning and locked eyes with third base coach Tim Flannery. Brandon Crawford hadjust hit a leadoff double, and Belt was expecting the bunt sign.

Once he gave me the hit sign, I was a little pumped upabout it, Belt said. I wanted to go up and make something happen.

And I couldnt get it done.

It made the result that much more frustrating as Beltdressed for a five-hour flight home. Belt struck out, so did pinch hitterEmmanuel Burriss, and right there the Giants weaknesses were exposed in a 4-3loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday.

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The Giants need more threats on their bench. They certainlyrequire more production out of their first basemen. They arent getting it fromBelt, who was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts to finish a rotten, 1-for-20 roadtrip. Hes in a 2-for-27 slide since the All-Star break that has the Giantspondering anything and everything.

Asked if he would discuss his options at first base with GMBrian Sabean, Giants manager Bruce Bochy glanced at his phone: Getting a textright now.

So there you go. Could the Giants swap Belt with Brett Pillat Triple-A Fresno? Could they unearth a first baseman on the trade market? Orcould they move Pablo Sandoval to first base and try to acquire a thirdbaseman?

Is all of this going through Belts mind?

Thats part of the problem, Belt said. Some of that stuffcreeps into your mind. The battle is to keep those thoughts out of your headand play baseball.

Hes not fighting a winning battle at the moment. A dayearlier, Belt stranded the bases loaded twice. His average is down to .231 andhis .341 on-base percentage doesnt appear to be much of a saving grace when hesonly got a .370 slugging percentage to pair with it.

He looks completely, utterly, totally lost at the plate.

Its just more mental than anything, probably, Belt said. Itsnot fun. Ive been through it before. You just have to see the light at the endof the tunnel and believe youll come out of it. You start guessing too muchinstead of seeing it and hitting it.

Can he figure it out against major league pitching?

Yeah, pretty much because Ive moved up levels andstruggled before, Belt said. Its always been a confidence issue. Its alwaysbeen a mental thing for me. Once I get that mindset right, it sorts everythingout. That helps, knowing Ive done it before and I can do it again.

One thing hes never done: Put down a sacrifice bunt. Inhis professional career, majors and minors, Belt doesnt own one sac hit.

Thats one of the reasons Bochy didnt order Belt to bunt Crawfordto third base.

I know hes struggling, but youve got to think hell getit done, Bochy said. Im not really big on bunting a guy over when youre notin the heart of your order. We just had two tough at-bats there, he andBurriss. Those little things come back to get you, and they got us today.

The Giants dont have many options on their roster. IfHector Sanchez were still healthy and active, itd be a no-brainer to have himstart Monday against Padres left-hander Clayton Richard and put Buster Posey atfirst base. But now the backup catcher is Eli Whiteside, whose bat is nowherenear as welcome a sight.

The Giants could move Sandoval to first base and startJoaquin Arias at third, but that would mean giving Crawford astart against a left-hander.

Or they could replace Belt with Pill, who was hitting .282with four home runs, 14 doubles and 27 RBIs in 36 games for Fresno.

Bochy let Belt swing away in the 12th. But thosesigns of faith are not without their limits.

After tumultuous 2016, Peavy making kids, not baseball, top priority

After tumultuous 2016, Peavy making kids, not baseball, top priority

The 2016 calendar year was one to forget for former Giants pitcher Jake Peavy.

Before the 2016 season even started, it was revealed that Peavy lost millions in a ponzi scheme.

During the season, the 35-year-old Peavy battled through injuries and posted a 5.54 ERA in 31 appearances for San Francisco.

And then following the season, his wife of 15 years, Katie, filed for divorce.

That, in part, explains why the Alabama-native has yet to sign a contract for the 2017 season.

While the legal matters are being handled, Peavy is taking care of his four sons and has made them his top priority.

Baseball is taking a backseat.

"It hurts not to be in spring training. I know that day is coming, but right now being a dad is absolutely No. 1. There's no way in a million years that I could leave my boys at this time," Peavy told ESPN this week.

Peavy explained in depth how the ponzi scheme affected his life during the past year.

"It turned my whole world upside-down. For the first time ever, it was hard to give my 150 percent focus, time and energy to baseball. It was such a tough year, because everything I have built and played for was jeopardized to some degree. When you've known people your whole life and career and they let you down and they're not who you thought you were, it's devastating.

"It turned me into a person I never wanted to be. People would text me and I'd say, 'What does this person want from me? What's their motive?' I had numerous relationships for 10-15 years with people who let me and my family down in a huge way. You put the blame on yourself in these situations, but I can't even tell you the mindset I was in from the start of spring training through the season," Peavy said.

Peavy also addressed his divorce.

"I'm not shying away from getting divorced. It's not something I'm proud of or something I wanted or asked for, but it happened and I'm dealing with that. But I also have four boys I'm responsible for in life, and I just feel deep down that it's in my best interests and my family's interests to be there through this time," Peavy said.

And while spring training games are underway, Peavy sounds as if he expects to sign with a team eventually. Once he does, he plans to give the team everything he's got.

"When I sign with a team, I'm all in. For me to leave right now with so much uncertainty in my life, it wouldn't be fair to an organization and it wouldn't be the right thing to do as far as being a dad," Peavy said.

In mid-December, Peavy was reportedly linked to the Padres, the team that drafted him in 1999.

 

Bumgarner allows two runs, Giants start spring training with walk-off homer

Bumgarner allows two runs, Giants start spring training with walk-off homer

BOX SCORE

At Scottsdale, Arizona, Chris Marrero hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth and drove in four runs as the Giants rallied after Madison Bumgarner gave up two runs on two hits in the top of the first.

Marrero, a 2006 first-round draft pick of the Nationals trying to revive his career as a non-roster invitee, had an RBI single in the fifth.

Kevin Shackelford, the seventh Cincinnati pitcher, walked Orlando Calixte to open the ninth and Christian Arroyo blooped a single into left field before Marrero hit a line drive over the wall in left centerfield.

Patrick Kivlehan had a two-run single off Bumgarner in the first and Hunter Pence doubled in a run off Reds starter Rookie Davis. Davis, acquired from the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal, is likely to open with Double-A Pensacola this year.