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Giants send Brandon Belt back to the minors … again

Aug 5, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

Brandon Belt AP

Brandon Belt got off to a slow start with the Giants, but the 23-year-old rookie hit .324 with a 1.011 OPS in 43 games after being sent back to Triple-A and San Francisco’s starting first baseman, Aubrey Huff, is hitting .243 with a .665 OPS.

You’d think that would convince the Giants to give Belt a legitimate chance to unseat Huff down the stretch, but instead they kept Belt on the bench for the past couple weeks and then demoted him back to the minors yesterday to make room on the roster for Mark DeRosa coming off the disabled list.

There’s nothing left for Belt to prove in the minors, where he’s hit .337 with a 1.036 OPS at Double-A and .300 with a .998 OPS at Triple-A, but he’s never going to prove himself in the majors unless the Giants actually give him an extended opportunity. They haven’t and apparently won’t, at least not this season.

Or as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News put it:

So it appears the Giants are going to ride it out with Aubrey Huff at first base. After covering this organization for eight years, I can’t say I’m surprised. Hey, I just report the facts. You’re free to opine from there. Without profanity, please.

That’s about as close as a beat reporter will come to letting readers know he’s dumb-founded by a move.

Huff was a big part of the Giants’ championship last season, but he’s been one of MLB’s least productive first basemen this season and is 34 years old. Re-signing Huff to a two-year, $22 million deal was a mistake made in the euphoria of a World Series win and that contract along with his veteran-ness is now keeping him in the lineup ahead of a far more promising player.

  1. JBerardi - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Why does Brian Sabean hate young players, and America?

    • jamie54 - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:23 PM

      Not only Sabean. Bochy was notorius in SD for not playing the younger players and sticking with the vets. Mentality of sticking with a known, maybe even flawed, commodity vs. the unknown in the young player.

  2. Charles Gates - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Putting him in the minors is a waist. He’ll work hard enough so that he pants, working on taking those inside pitches so he doesn’t buckle, then it’s a cinch to get back into the loop again.

  3. dodger88 - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    It could be worse. Their post-World Series euphoria nearly led to a three year contract with Juan Uribe.

    • goawaydog - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      Apparently that post world series euphoria took the I5 south and rubbed off on the dodgers too. I was surprised that sabean didn’t pull that trigger on Uribe, he must have been in the restroom when the dodgers were on the phone with Juan.

  4. dcburden - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Belt might not have anything left to prove in AAA, but he still looks pretty lost in the bigs. What he needs is time to work things out in the majors, but given how close the race is in the NL West, that may need to wait until next April.

  5. seeingwhatsticks - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    What Belt needs more than AAA playing time is 10-15 AB a week a the big league level to work through adjustments.

    I don’t necessarily agree that signing Huff was a mistake. Remember he played about 30 games in the OF last year and was serviceable there, so I think Sabean thought Huff would provide a good bat with some flexibility should Belt prove to be ready for the big leagues (and by prove to be ready I mean hit 4 HR in his first 2 games). My problem isn’t with the signing, it’s with this team’s chronic inability to admit any mistakes. Clearly the Huff signing hasn’t worked out. Maybe he’s hurt, maybe he’s washed up, maybe he’s just in a funk, maybe it’s all 3. Regardless of why it’s not working and Belt should have been starting at least 2-3 times a week. Refusing to admit a mistake is why DeRosa was activated rather than released, why Rowand is still on the roster, and why Zito came down with a sudden foot injury rather than being DFA. The Giants are rolling in dough this year and have been very public about that fact, yet they refuse to part with any of that money to make the team better, even if it’s with addition by subtraction. There’s just no way anyone can believe they are making roster and lineup decisions based on putting together the best 25 and 9 possible.

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