Even in the best season of his career, Brandon Belt was hurting.
After a torrid 2020 in which his bat caught fire and he put the club on his back, Belt’s heels were feeling the weight from his 51 games. Belt had surgery to remove a bone spur in his right heel Thursday in Green Bay, Wisc., the Giants announced Tuesday. Belt returned home to Texas over the weekend and will start physical therapy this week.
Belt dealt with the heel issue all season, having used a walking boot briefly in summer training, the sore heel keeping him out of the Opening Day lineup. Yet he returned and, while he lumbered often, he also brought his lumber.
Saying that his legs felt healthy and strong for the first time since 2018 knee surgery, Belt posted a season that will net him some MVP votes. His 1.015 OPS was easily the best of his career, crushing his previous best in 2016 of .868, when he was an All-Star. He slashed a blistering .309/.425/.591 with nine home runs, his on-base percentage the ninth best in baseball. He began in what seemed would be a platoon with Wilmer Flores or Darin Ruf at first, but mostly pushed Flores to DH and Ruf to left field, finding his way into the lineup most days.
His career year came one year before he hits free agency, one of the contracts that has been viewed as a weight on the Giants instead turning into a bargain in 2020. How healthy his heels, legs and the rest of him look in 2021 will be important for next year’s club and his Giants future.