Brandon Belt was looking like the Giants’ best player, and one of the best players in MLB, until he broke his thumb on a bunt attempt last week.
The injury news appeared devastating. Broken thumbs can have a notoriously inconsistent recovery time, but the last time Belt broke his thumb he was out for eight weeks. That would mean the entire postseason.
According to Giants beat writer Susan Slusser, however, the situation might not be that dire. She said on KNBR Monday that there is more optimism in recent days, and that, while unlikely, we could see Belt as early as the Division Series.
“It’s a long shot the Division Series, but a few days ago even people behind the scenes were saying there’s no chance for the Division Series, he’s been ruled out,” Slusser began. “Yesterday kind of poking around, people were like, ‘hey we would love it, we’re not 100 percent ruling out that chance.’ In part because of the Forteo.”
Forteo, is a drug that encourages bone formation. Belt is expected to get another MRI on Wednesday or Thursday before the series begins.
“It’s a hairline fracture. I’ve had a hairline fracture in my left thumb before. Obviously I don’t play first base and I don’t swing a bat, that’s a huge difference. But it’s one of those things where it’s sore, it’s sore, it’s sore and then one day it just feels fine.
“I don’t know how Forteo promotes bone growth. I don’t necessarily know how he’ll respond, everybody’s different. I know that it’s a hairline fracture, non-displaced obviously, how much that will impact it, but I think they’re holding out hope at the very least that maybe he could be a possibility to pinch hit. If that’s his throwing hand that might be tough, but with the right padding, the right gloves, maybe there’s a possibility he might be on the roster and use him in a big pinch-hitting situation.
“Do you want to give up some roster flexibility to do that? That’s a good question. When you don’t know? Do you want to potentially set him back in any way with soreness swinging the bat? Donnie Ecker told me yesterday that he’s already starting to work with him doing some visual things, tracking the ball, things like that. They’re getting him prepared as much as possible, just in case.”
Belt slashed .274 / .378 / .597 this season with a career-high 29 home runs. In his stead has been a combination of LaMonte Wade Jr, Darin Ruf and Wilmer Flores at first base, a trio that have combined to be nearly as productive as Belt at the plate.
“So, it’s fun to think about. Long shot, but if it’s possible they’ll do it.”
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Listen to the full interview below.