ORACLE PARK — San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt exited Friday’s 7-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds due to knee inflammation, manager Bruce Bochy announced after the game.
Belt, who has had his right knee surgically repaired twice, has dealt with periodic inflammation in the joint, but it typically hurts most when he slides. In the eighth inning on Friday, he ran through the bag on a groundout to the right side for the first out of the inning. He returned to the dugout, but did not return to the game.
“It usually gets me every now and then, and sliding into bases, I jam it pretty good,” Belt said. “It doesn’t typicall bother me when I’m running, but it bothered me when I was running tonight. It’s just a little inflammation in there, and we’ll take care of it.”
Belt, who’s hitting .223 on the season, will undergo an MRI at some point on Saturday, and Bochy said that he could miss one or two games. Belt himself said that he’ll try to play Saturday, regardless. Structurally, he said, the knee is fine.
“I don’t think it’s going to be an extended amount of time or anything like that,” Belt said. “I’m going to try and come out here and play tomorrow. It’s sore sometimes, and you play with soreness, so it’s not a big deal. Maybe it’ll calm down by tomorrow, and we’ll get back out there.”
If Belt does not go, San Francisco has options. Stephen Vogt — the Giants’ primary catcher with Buster Posey on the concussion list — has played both first base and left field. Pablo Sandoval — who took over for Belt on Friday — could also play first.
“We’ll talk about it after tonight,” Bochy said. “We have some options … We just want to see if there’s anything else going on [with Belt’s knee]. We don’t think there is, but it’s the normal thing to do.”
Tyler Austin is a first baseman by trade, and had a mishap in left field during a nightmare four-run second inning on Friday. He had a liner by Derek Dietrich go in and out of his glove, driving home the importance of getting Austin more reps in left, if he’s to be a solution there regularly throughout the season. He wasn’t able to get out and take reps in left much during the recent road trip due to weather.
“I’d say more than anything, just doesn’t have a lot of time out there,” Bochy said. “Got a guy swinging the bat the way he is, you try to find some time for him occasionally out there, but hey, we’ll get some work out there with him, and it’s going to get better. He’s played out there before, he just hasn’t been out there in a while.”