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San Francisco Giants Notebook: Nick Hundley to take over catching Madison Bumgarner for Buster Posey

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San Francisco Giants’ Nick Hundley scores ahead of the tag by San Diego Padres catcher Austin Hedges in the second inning on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. (K.C. Alfred/ San Diego Union -Tribune)

AT&T Park — While San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey avoided serious injury this past weekend when he took a foul tip off the mask against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team is continuing to show general precaution with the six-time All-Star, moving him to first base Tuesday against the Houston Astros.

Posey usually catches left-hander Madison Bumgarner, but Nick Hundley will take over behind the plate as the Giants look to avoid a two-game sweep. Manager Bruce Bochy downplayed the move, noting that Posey, who has also battled hip pain throughout the year, feels OK ahead of the series finale.

“Buster is fine,” Bochy said. “Nick caught [Bumgarner] in spring training, and Nick has good experience catching and will be fine back there. Sometimes you get in a situation where the best thing to do is give a guy a day from behind the plate, especially with a day game after a night game. Plus we get Nick’s bat in there.”

Hundley has hit nine home runs this year and is batting .288 against left-handed pitchers. Houston will start southpaw Dallas Kuechel on Tuesday. Over the past 15 games, though, Hundley is hitting .184.

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Bochy said first baseman Brandon Belt (knee) could return as early as next week against the Los Angeles Dodgers if he avoids a rehab assignment.

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Closer Hunter Strickland (broken hand) pitched at Class-A San Jose on Monday and allowed a solo home run. He threw 19 pitches and recorded two outs.

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