Belt encounters immediate adversity

Tuesday, April 5

SAN DIEGO — Brandon Belt is receiving a Major League test immediately.

His resolve and psyche, not to mention his hitting technique, are being challenged in his first week as a Giant. Belt’s batting .118 (2-for-17) overall after enduring his third consecutive hitless game in San Francisco’s 3-1 loss Tuesday to the San Diego Padres.

Later in the season, a hitless streak of this length would command little if any attention. But Belt’s under extra scrutiny as he strives to establish himself with a World Series-winning team.

“I think it’s magnified a little bit this early in the season,” he said. “You don’t like looking up there and seeing your average down in the .100s. But all I can do is put the bat on the ball, hopefully put some good swings on the ball, have some good at-bats and the rest will take care of itself eventually.”

Belt admitted that he may have swung at pitches he should have ignored in the last couple of days. He now knows that pitchers are teasing him.

“Looking back on tape, I probably swung at a few of their pitches,” he said.”So I’ll make adjustments tomorrow.”

Belt’s not the only struggling Giant. Left fielder Pat Burrell is batting .167 (3-for-18) with six strikeouts. Meanwhile, Aaron Rowand delivered yet another pinch hit and is batting .571 (4-for-7). But manager Bruce Bochy didn’t sound like he’d alter the lineup any time soon.

“We’re not through the first week yet,” Bochy said. “We’re not going to be making any changes.”

This is the same Bochy who used 126 different lineups last season. He might not wait much longer to try something new.

— Chris Haft


ZOMG we should trade him right now for Nick Hundley, who’s hitting .533. That’s why the Padres beat us yesterday! Belt’s had over twice as many at-bats as Rowand and isn’t hitting half as well! OH NOES!!!!!

Belt isn’t a savior. And even if he was, what’s he here to save us from? Winning another World Series? No matter how you arrange and rearrange the lineup with or without him, practically every other guy you put in his spot in the lineup (except Tejada) was part of the mix that gave us a ring last year.

It hasn’t even been a week yet, for crying out loud. And if that doesn’t calm you down, consider this: would we have cut him if he was 0-for-12 to start his rookie season? If your answer is “yes,” you just cut Willie Mays from your team. As it stands, Belt has more RBI and a roughly equivalent batting average to what Mays had at this point in his career.

Do I think he’s the next Willie Mays? I have no idea. But if we’re going to keep hyping him up like he is, we need to grant him the same patience Mays got.

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