Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was hit on the left thumb by a Lucas Gilbreath pitch during the seventh inning of San Francisco’s 6-2 win over the Rockies today. Belt took his base, but was replaced at first base for the bottom half of the inning.
Manager Gabe Kapler told The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser and other reporters that Belt will be examined tomorrow when the Giants return home, as an initial round of x-rays were inconclusive. Belt didn’t speak to the media himself following the game, but teammate Brandon Crawford noted that “talking to him, he seems like he should be all right and hopefully not miss too much time.”
The Giants have already clinched at least a wild card berth, and they hold a two-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West with six games remaining in the regular season. Since San Francisco doesn’t play on Monday, Belt will get an extra day to recuperate, though even if he has escaped the worst and his thumb is only sore or bruised, it seems like Belt might be a limited factor at best in this critical final week.
Belt’s revival at the plate began in 2020, and he carried that big performance in the shortened season through to 2021. With two more hits in today’s win over Colorado, Belt is now hitting .274/.378/.597 with 29 home runs over 381 plate appearances. This is despite missing close to eight weeks on the injured list due to an oblique strain and then a knee injury — much of Belt’s best work has come since returning from that second IL trip, as he has a whopping 1.071 OPS over 176 PA from August 5 to September 25.
Depth has been a key part of the Giants’ success this year, and since Belt has missed so much time, such players as LaMonte Wade Jr., Wilmer Flores, and Darin Ruf have all gotten considerable action at first base. Wade and Flores figure to work a first base platoon until Belt is healthy, and Ruf figures to join the mix when he returns from the IL. Ruf told Slusser that he expects to be ready to be activated on Thursday, which represents the minimum 10 days after he was sidelined due to an oblique strain.