ORACLE PARK — Brandon Belt hobbled around the San Francisco Giants home locker room, his balky right knee heavily wrapped two hours before the Giants’ finale against the Toronto Blue Jays.
After feeling well enough on Tuesday to start, the San Francisco first baseman felt his chronically inflamed knee stiffen up as the evening went along, so the Giants felt that, with an off day on Thursday, it would be as good a time as any to rest him. It doesn’t hurt that his replacement — Pablo Sandoval — has hit .364 with three home runs in his last eight games.
“It’s not quite where it was,” Bochy said, referring to the inflammation that knocked Belt out of the starting lineup for two games on May 11 and 12. “You could see him favoring that knee a little bit yesterday. Could he play? Yes. But, we would like to get this cleared up. With the day off, you look at how Pablo’s swinging the bat, he allows you to do this.”
Bochy had spoken with trainer Dave Groeschner after last night’s game, and Groeschner said that Belt had been feeling the knee a bit more than usual, so Bochy called Belt on Tuesday night to inform him he’d get the day off, but didn’t get an answer, so he left a message.
If all goes well with an evaluation on Friday, catcher Buster Posey will be activated off of the concussion list in time for that day’s game, the first of a three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the desert.
“He’s doing well,” Bochy said. “Friday, we’ll evaluate him, and hopefully all goes well and he’ll be activated.”
The rotation for Arizona will be Jeff Samardzija on Friday, Madison Bumgarner on Saturday and Drew Pomeranz for Sunday, once he is activated off the injured list (strained lat).
“We’re expecting Pomeranz, so hopefully all goes well and he’s able to go that day,” Bochy said.
Pomeranz has not pitched since a disastrous outing on May 6 at Cincinnati, when he gave up seven runs — all earned — on nine hits in just 1 2/3 innings. He’s 1-4 on the season with a 5.93 ERA in 30 1/3 innings with 33 strikeouts.
San Francisco will see another one of their injured pitchers in Arizona: Johnny Cueto.
During his rehab from Tommy John surgery, he’s regularly posted videos of his workouts to his Instagram feed, and he’s in great shape, Bochy said. He’ll be at Chase Field to throw a bullpen with San Francisco. He’s only up to 40 pitches — two sets of 20 in any given outing — and he’s only throwing fastballs, but it’s a major step in his road to returning to the big leagues.
The Giants still hope to see him back at Oracle Park by the end of the season.
“We’re hoping, but again, we’ve talked about this, we’ll see where we’re at, and certainly don’t want to rush him,” Bochy said. “It’d be nice to see him.”
Barry Bonds made a late entrance into the Giants locker room on Wednesday, one of his periodic — if not frequent — visits.
“Barry comes in now and then,” Bochy said. “He’ll drop by occasionally, and chat with the fellas.”
Asked when he’s going to open the magnum bottle of wine with one of his old baseball card photos emblazoned on it behind his desk, Bochy said, “No more openers for me right now.”