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Belt returns to deeper, more versatile Giants lineup

NBC Sports
Brandon Belt

After four months of dealing with constant injuries, the Giants are very, very close to having their full squad back on the field. 

Brandon Belt returned from the Injured List on Thursday and will make his first start since injuring his knee on June 23 in Anaheim, and Evan Longoria isn't far behind. The third baseman, rehabbing a shoulder injury, will make a start for Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday and stretch it to seven innings on Friday, so he's not far from returning. It seems reasonable he could be back for the start of the next homestand on Tuesday. 

The Giants got Tommy La Stella back Wednesday and watched him reach base four times, and with two other starters coming back, there is going to be a roster crunch. They momentarily avoided that by putting Kevin Gausman on the paternity list. The Gausmans are expecting their second daughter, Sutton, on Friday morning. 

Belt's return further deepened a lineup that also added Kris Bryant over the past week. In the finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bryant is playing his third position since arriving

Belt had a .875 OPS and 11 homers before getting hurt, and at the time there was concern that he could need surgery. But he avoided that fate, rehabbing for over a month instead, and said recently that he doesn't anticipate any further issues. He has been wearing a brace on the knee, which he already had season-ending surgery on once. 

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"It's been awesome to see whoever they call up step in and take over and do such a great job of helping us win ballgames," he said. "But it's been kind of tough to sit back and watch those rivalry games. Those are fun games, those are why we play baseball. It's been tough to sit back and watch that but I'm really excited to get back out there and start playing again."

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