The Giants announced they’ve reinstated first baseman Brandon Belt from the 10-day injured list. He’s starting at first base, hitting seventh in the order this afternoon against the Diamondbacks. To create active roster space, starter Kevin Gausman was placed on the paternity list.
Belt returns after missing around six weeks with right knee inflammation, his second IL stint of the season. In between the injuries, the 33-year-old had been having a quietly excellent year at the plate, hitting .253/.363/.512 with eleven home runs across 201 plate appearances. A career-high 32.3% strikeout rate has knocked a bit of a blow to Belt’s batting average, but he’s again demonstrated a very good combination of plate discipline and power.
Going back to the start of the 2020 season, Belt has a .279/.392/.549 line. By measure of wRC+ (minimum 300 plate appearances), only Mike Trout, Juan Soto, Fernando Tatís Jr., Ronald Acuña Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer and Bryce Harper have been more productive on a rate basis. However, Belt’s injuries have kept him to a little more than half the playing time of some of those star players.
In other positive news for the Giants, third baseman Evan Longoria is beginning a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento this evening, the team told reporters (including Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area). Longoria has been down since June 6 with a left shoulder sprain, but he’s apparently nearing a return. The 35-year-old was enjoying a resurgent season before the injury, hitting .280/.376/.516 through his first 186 plate appearances. The stellar production from Belt and Longoria has been a significant part of the Giants’ league-best 68-40 record, good for a 3.5 game lead in the National League West.