San Francisco Giants

Giants’ Belt could be cleared to see live pitching by weekend

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants first baseman Brandon Belt flew to Pittsburgh today for a Thursday appointment with concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins, with hopes that when he returns it’ll be with the all-clear to face live pitching for the first time in more than a month.

Belt has taken swings off a tee in the batting cage, and ran sprints today before leaving for Pittsburgh, manager Bruce Bochy said. He’s scheduled to return Friday after his re-evaluation, at which point Bochy said the Giants hope to "ramp up his activities."

If given the OK, the next step for Belt is live batting practice. After that, the Giants will have to figure out how to get Belt some live at-bats before potentially rejoining the big-league roster, as minor league seasons are finished. Bochy said the Giants have a little time to figure that out, as Belt is "a few days away, anyway, before he’s able to see live pitching."

Michael Morse, who has missed the last seven games with an oblique strain, took some dry swings today and is "doing better," but still a couple days away from taking batting practice, Bochy said.

It’s Travis Ishikawa tonight at first base against Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Josh Collmenter. Ishikawa is 11-for-32 (.344) over his past 17 games, and Bochy spent some time this afternoon talking about how Ishikawa looks like a "different player" now than during his first stint with the Giants between 2008-10.

Ishikawa, of course, was younger then and near the beginning of his career, and Bochy said Ishikawa has likely benefited from the perspective of more time in the majors.

"Sometimes when you’re younger, you’re frustrated when you don’t get the playing time you want," Bochy said. "Then you end up going back to the minor leagues, or you don’t have a job for a while, and you realize, hey, it wasn’t that bad, my role with the team.

"You learn to appreciate that, and that’s the sense I get from Travis. He’s a lot more relaxed and comfortable with the role that he has, stays ready for it, understands it and the importance of it."

Today that role involves a start, as part of this Giants lineup:

CF Pagan

2B Panik

C Posey

3B Sandoval

RF Pence

LF Blanco

1B Ishikawa

SS Crawford

P Vogelsong

And the Diamondbacks’ lineup against Vogelsong:

LF Inciarte

2B Hill

C Montero

1B Trumbo

CF Pollock

3B Lamb

RF Marte

SS Gregorius

P Collmenter

* A couple of good notes from the Giants pre-game:

With his nine-strikeout, no-walk complete game last night, Yusmeiro Petit in nine games since July 26 has 39 strikeouts and one walk. According to Elias, only two other pitchers since 1900 have had as many strikeouts with one walk over a nine-game span: Greg Maddux (49 strikeouts, one walk) in 2001, and David Wells (42 strikeouts, one walk) in 2002-03.

Joe Panik, meanwhile, last night became the youngest player since Hank Aaron in 1958 to have a five-hit game in which all the hits were singles and he didn’t score or drive in a run. Panik is the sixth Giants rookie ever with at least five hits in a game.

* Vogelsong had maybe his roughest outing of the season a week ago, tying his career high with eight earned runs allowed in five innings. But that start was at Coors Field, and came on the heels of a similarly rocky start from Petit. Petit rebounded Tuesday night in the friendlier confines of AT&T Park; now it’s Vogelsong’s chance.

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