SAN FRANCISCO – Other than his favorite Olive Garden breadsticks slathered in Alfredo sauce, Brandon Belt isn’t sure how he’ll gain back the 11 pounds he lost due to a stomach bug last week.
But there’s one sure way to add 3 or 4 ounces: Just wear his World Series ring the next time he steps on the scale.
“That’s true,” he said. “It’s pretty heavy.”
Two years ago, Belt and Miguel Tejada were the newcomers who didn’t receive rings from the 2010 World Series. Now just a short while later, Belt doesn’t have to be envious any longer.
“We just stayed in the dugout, tried to hide,” Belt said of that 2011 ceremony. “We didn’t want to be included in something we weren’t a part of. I think I spent a lot of time in the bathroom.”
This time, only four members of the roster were not a part of the 2012 World Series team. And one of them, Andres Torres, has a ring from 2010. The others: Nick Noonan, Chad Gaudin and Guillermo Quiroz.
“For a young player like Nick, as it was for me, it’s fun to watch,” Belt said. “It’ll be in the back of his head for a long time. I remember looking at the rings hoping I’d have one someday. I never imagined it would be so soon.”
Two years ago, Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulled a prank on his players. He told them he had a top-secret prototype of the ring, then showed them a trinket given to teenagers who played on the Giants’ club that won a Dominican Summer League championship. Some players expressed polite approval. Aubrey Huff chucked it back in Bochy’s lap and said, “Ha ha, very funny.”
This year, Bochy gave the fake ring to Buster Posey to trick his teammates.
“Buster did it to me,” Belt said. “I told him, `I’m not falling for that.’”
One more note about Belt: As he told me yesterday, an 0-for-10 start isn’t affecting his confidence or sense of belonging. It might have bothered him a year ago, even though he lined out twice Saturday.
Bochy agreed that Belt is a different player because of the experience he gained last year.
“Without question,” Bochy said. “You take out a little of the unknown factor. He knows he can hit. He had a great spring.”
Belt can hit the unlimited salad, too. He took up an invitation from Olive Garden, which learned of his love for its salad dressing when he posted his praise on Twitter. On Thursday’s day off, Belt went to the restaurant in Daly City, sat down for a Tour of Italy and spent a half-hour taking photos with the staff.
Bochy was asked which ring he'll wear most often. He said it's hard to say one World Series means more to him than another, but the 2010 ring would probably get more use. That's the one that symbolizes how long he spent in the game trying to achieve that goal.
But if the second one is seriously blinged out, well...
Bochy had a hand in designing the ring but claimed he hadn't seen the final version, and wouldn't until he opened his baby blue Tiffany box on the field.
It’ll be a shock to Bochy if Brian Wilson shows up for the ring ceremony. Wilson was invited and never responded. That wouldn’t appear to bode well for a reconciliation down the road when Wilson is ready to pitch, would it?
Ryan Theriot, from the latest I’ve heard, won’t be able to make it, either. And Guillermo Mota has another family commitment but appreciated the invitation.
Mota hasn’t retired, by the way. He’s thrown for the Baltimore Orioles and might sign a Triple-A contract with them, so I understand.
Aubrey Huff will be in the house, though.
“He’ll probably parachute in here, great athlete that he is,” Bochy said.
Angel Pagan almost had an unceremonious exit from Saturday’s game. It sure looked like he did enough to get ejected when he was arguing a called strikeout. But plate umpire Angel Hernandez showed restraint.
Bochy ran onto the field to whisk away Pagan, and had to remind him that the Giants didn’t have another outfielder on the bench. (Bochy already had pinch-hit for Gregor Blanco, and the club isn’t carrying a fifth outfielder.)
Bochy spoke to umpiring supervisor Ed Montague Sunday morning and told him he appreciated Hernandez’s patience, which he understands isn’t easy for an umpire when he’s being shown up like that.
Who would’ve played the outfield if Pagan had gotten tossed?
Well, Bochy told Noonan to be ready. Noonan hasn’t done more than take a few fly balls in left field, but he would’ve been in the game. No doubt the close call with Pagan will motivated the coaches to give Noonan a little more early work in the outfield.