SAN FRANCISCO — Brandon Belt won’t be joining Johnny Cueto, Michael Morse, Jarrett Parker, Austin Slater and Will Smith on disabled list. In fact, he could be available to pinch hit against the Cleveland Indians at AT&T Park Monday night.
The Giants received encouraging news Monday when Belt reported significant “improvement” in the health of his left wrist, which he injured while checking a swing against the San Diego Padres on Saturday. Instead of becoming the team’s 20th use of the disabled list this season, the first baseman is expecting to rejoin the lineup at some point during the Giants three-game series with the Indians.
“It made a lot of improvement today,” Belt said. “If it makes as much of an improvement tomorrow as it did today, I’ll play, I’m guessing.”
Belt was planning to take ground balls in the infield Monday. The first baseman said he can throw the ball without pain.
Manager Bruce Bochy reinforced the likelihood that Belt will return to the lineup sooner than later.
“He just needs another day. I think he’ll be okay to go tomorrow. He’s still a little stiff,” Bochy said. “My hope is that toward the backend of the game, if we need him, he’s available to pinch hit.”
As Belt’s wrist heals on the bench, Jae-Gyun Hwang will be making his Major League debut at first, where he suited up for 31 games earlier this season with Triple-A Sacramento.
“He played a little bit there in spring training. In Sacramento, he also played there, so he’s ready to go,” Bochy said.
Hwang, who made his Major League debut on June 28, has played all 10 of his big league games at third base. Although he’s only hitting .182, Bochy has been impressed by the South Korea-native’s at bats and his commitment to doing his homework.
“He’s very well prepared when he goes up there. He studies all these guys. He probably knows as much about their pitchers as any of us,” the Giants manager said. “He makes adjustments up there. He might look bad on a pitch, but you usually don’t see it happen twice in one at bat.”
— Ryder Jones will start a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday.
Jones was placed on the 10-day disabled list on July 4 (retroactively) with a right wrist contusion.
The rookie third baseman has one hit in 21 at bats since he made his Major League debut on June 24.
— Gorkeys Hernandez isn’t the longterm solution to the Giants left field problems, but he is providing some short-term stability.
When Austin Slater went down with a right groin strain on July 8, the Giants manager was talking about dividing the team’s left field duties between Hernandez and Kelby Tomlinson.
Instead, he’s penciled Hernandez into left in four-consecutive games since the All-Star break. The 29-year-old outfielder is batting .339 since June 1, including a 4 for 4 performance Friday.
“His at bats have been pretty good. It’s good to have that defense out there, too,” Bochy said.
— Instead of chasing down the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Giants will be devoting their 10-game homestand to something a little more abstract: building character.
Earlier in the season, the team viewed this stretch of the schedule, in which they will play 18 of their next 23 games at China Basin, as an opportunity to gain ground in the National League West standings after a putrid start.
Now, they’re just hoping to show the rest of the Majors, “what they’re made of.”
“We just want to get back to winning baseball,” Bochy said. “Get back to who we are.
“There’s so much pride involved at this point. We say tough times reveal character, that’s where we’re at right now. We need to show what we’re made of and hopefully have a good homestand.”
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