Bay Bridge Series Notebook: Brandon Belt returns to the lineup for the San Francisco Giants

OAKLAND — About 24 hours after San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt witnessed the birth of his son, August Kyle Belt, he was back in the clubhouse with an energy drink in hand as he prepared for Saturday’s matchup with the Oakland A’s. He’ll bat second against right-hander Trevor Cahill in the penultimate game of the Bay Bridge Series.

Before the game, Belt reflected on what it meant to have a second child and to be able to name him after his former coach with the Texas Longhorns, Augie Garrido, who died in March. Garrido is the winningest coach in college baseball history, and coached Belt in 2008 and 2009.

“When [Garrido] passed away I thought it would be a great way to honor somebody who I truly loved and who helped me in my life and my career so much,” Belt said. “To me that was coolest way I could do that.”

Asked what he would tell his son if asked about his former coach, Belt was effusive with his praise.

“I’ll tell him that coach Garrido was a guy who always demanded the best out of you,” Belt said.

“A guy you didn’t want to let down, a guy who really, really cared about his players. That’s something that the players [could] always feel. That’s why he’s loved so much.”

While the Giants hit two home runs without Belt on Friday, he’s been perhaps their best offensive performer this year. Manager Bruce Bochy said it was important to have him back in the lineup given his hitting ability. Belt has 13 home runs and 42 RBIs this year.

To make room for Belt on the active roster, the Giants sent infielder Ryder Jones back to Triple-A Sacramento. Jones hit a home run against A’s starter Edwin Jackson on Friday.

*****

Third baseman Evan Longoria, out since June with a broken hand, could return as early as Tuesday. He’s expected to complete a seven-inning rehab game on Saturday and a nine-inning effort on Sunday.

If he returns Tuesday, it would allow the Giants to start him against Seattle Mariners left-hander James Paxton.

“He’s been doing all his conditioning,” Bochy said. “We’ll see how he comes out of the game tonight. If we think he needs a break, we’ll give him that.”

Longoria was acquired in an offseason trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. The three-time All Star hit .246 before his injury. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval has picked up most of the playing time at the hot corner in Longoria’s absence.

*****

Starter Jeff Samardzija (shoulder) played catch on Saturday and is on track to complete a bullpen Sunday. Chris Stratton and Derek Holland are both options to start on Wednesday. Holland will be available out of the bullpen each of the next two days.

*****

Bochy said Austin Slater will likely start Sunday’s series finale.

Dan Bernstein

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