SAN FRANCISCO -- The injury bug hasn’t finished biting the Giants yet. First baseman Brandon Belt is being treated for a concussion after leaving Friday night’s game because of difficulty concentrating and is "going to need some time" before he plays again, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said today.
Belt missed a significant amount of last season with recurring concussion symptoms after being in the head by a thrown ball during batting practice. Tuesday night, he jammed his head against the leg of a Reds infielder diving back into second base. At the time, he said he wasn’t experiencing concussion symptoms, and Bochy said that Belt passed a round of concussion tests. But he started having trouble focusing in the later innings Friday.
Bochy said he "would guess" Belt’s current symptoms stem from Tuesday night’s play. "I would think, since that was the one impact he took in the last week or so," Bochy said. "He said he felt a little weird yesterday. Sure enough, I guess it got worse during the game so he had to come out."
The Giants are already missing outfielders Nori Aoki and Gregor Blanco to concussions and are being cautious about trying to rush them back before the end of the season. Belt, Bochy said, "is going to be probably a few days" at least. Given his concussion history, Bochy was asked if there’s any consideration given to shutting Belt down for the year.
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"They’re so hard to figure out," Bochy said of head injuries, "obviously you want to be cautious, but how cautious to be? I mean, when they pass all the tests and clear those, you can only assume they’re good to play. All that happened with Brandon.
"Now he’s showing symptoms, he’s going to need some time. Now he’s got to be cleared to play, and until then, he won’t play."
With Belt out, Buster Posey will get more time at first base, including today against the Arizona Diamondbacks with Trevor Brown making his major-league debut at catcher. The Giants’ other options at first include Nick Noonan and Brown, who was an infielder before converting behind the plate. Bochy said Ehire Adrianza could also take grounders at first to be an option there.
Brown, a 2012 10th-round draft pick out of UCLA, played this season at Triple-A Sacramento, batting .261 with two homers and 27 RBIs in 82 games. Drafted as an infielder, Brown started to make the transition to catching more last season in San Jose.
"He really made the conversion quite well as far as receiving, catching, blocking," Bochy said. "He gives a nice little target -- I’ve seen video of him. Our reports are he’s a nice catcher."
Bochy said he didn’t tell Brown until this morning that he’d be making his debut. Bochy said he tried Friday night as Brown was leaving the clubhouse -- but Brown kept going out the door.
"I said, ‘Well, maybe it’s a good thing, he’ll get a good night’s sleep,’" Bochy said.
Belt’s injury comes a day after the Giants got Brandon Crawford back in the lineup after a week-long absence. Belt has been one of the Giants’ most durable players this season, with his 137 games played trailing only Posey (138) for the team lead.
The Giants’ lineup against the Diamondbacks:
And the Diamondbacks’ lineup: