SAN DIEGO -- The Giants will try to salvage a series split without their best bat.
Buster Posey was out of Sunday's lineup because of swelling in his right thumb. Bruce Bochy said Posey will be able to start Tuesday, and he wanted to give him two full days off since the Giants have a travel day Monday.
When Posey returns, he'll catch Johnny Cueto. The right-hander's ankle felt good a day after he pitched a simulated game and he'll return to the rotation for the opener with the Diamondbacks. It at first seemed that Jeff Samardzija would be right behind him, but that's now up for discussion.
Samardzija made a rehab start for the San Jose Giants on Saturday night and allowed six runs in the first inning while fighting command issues. He was much better after that, hitting 95 mph while piling up strikeouts late, and he reached 62 pitches. Still, Bochy said the staff is leaning toward having Samardzija (strained pectoral) make one more rehab start in the minors.
--- Mac Williamson homered again Saturday. It was his fourth of the season, but don't expect him in the big league outfield anytime soon.
"They haven't played that many games there, let's let these guys get some playing time and settled in, just like our guys," Bochy said. "Right now, we have no plans to make changes."
--- Austin Slater has started taking grounders at first in Triple-A. Bochy said the staff wants Slater, who was drafted as a second baseman, to get more versatility. The Giants are pleased with the way Gorkys Hernandez and Gregor Blanco have played as big league backup outfielders, and Williamson is now ahead of Slater in the pecking line for an outfield call-up. So this should help his cause.
So far this season, Brandon Belt is hitting .304 with six home runs and 12 RBI.
He boasts a .402 on-base percentage.
"We need him. The guy is a star player in the making," Giants executive VP of baseball operations Brian Sabean said on KNBR 680 on Wednesday. "We hope with the strength of a deeper lineup -- which I think in time will prove to be true -- that he's got a lot that can really help this ball club and contribute in a big way."
So why then is Belt so polarizing?
"I'm not sure," Sabean answered. "There are folks that do swing and miss (Belt has struck out 22 times in 20 games). He's kind of a study in contrast. And while I say that, he's probably got one of the best eyes in the big leagues and can work a count, work an at-bat and take a walk with anybody.
"But what I'm seeing this year is that he's getting to more pitches, where in the past he would not put it in play. He's doing that in a big way. There are just some guys for whatever reason don't square up as many balls as you think they would be capable of.
"He's been a work in progress. He's still a young guy and I think that once he finds his power, he'll be a guy that will be very dangerous in anybody's lineup."
Belt was an All-Star in 2016.
The 30-year old is making $16 million this season, and will earn $16 million each year through 2021.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Ten minutes into his start Wednesday, Jeff Samardzija got a mound visit from manager Bruce Bochy and a member of the training staff.
His fastball was sitting 89-91 at the time, and given that Samardzija is just two starts removed from a DL stint for a strained pectoral, the concern was understandable.
"He's fine. We just wanted to check on him at that point," Bochy said. "He said he was fine and as you saw his stuff picked up, which you see sometimes from starting pitchers."
Samardzija did get back to the 93-94 range by the third, which is still a couple ticks from normal for him, but at least isn't concerning. He didn't make it to the fourth, though. A Matt Adams homer put the last three of six runs on his line.
"Just one of those days," Samardzija said. "I've been feeling really good. It just took a little longer today (to get loose). There's really no explanation for it sometimes.
"Obviously it's a little bit of a different script for me right now (coming off the injury). We're going to learn from it and keep getting better and get on to the next one."
A few Giants need to move on quickly after this one. Josh Osich, coming off a sparkling spring, continued to backslide at the worst possible time. The Giants will need to clear a roster spot for Will Smith next week. Osich was charged with four earned runs. Cory Gearrin walked two of three he faced and cashed in two of Osich's runners. He, too, has fallen down the depth chart a bit.
"They're not on track. O really had some good moments today, lots of swings and misses, but also had trouble getting the ball where he wanted at times," Bochy said. "Cory is battling too much right now instead of going out there and attacking the strike zone. This game is all about confidence and if they get shaken a bit they don't throw the ball with as much conviction."