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Belt suffers fracture in left thumb; timetable unknown

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Belt hit by pitch

SAN FRANCISCO -- The off day before the final homestand of the season brought awful news for Brandon Belt and the first-place Giants. 

An X-ray taken Monday revealed that Belt has a fracture in his left thumb. The Giants said Belt will meet with doctors over the next couple of days to develop a recovery plan and a timetable for his return, but the initial diagnosis likely rules him out for at least the rest of the regular season and the start of the playoffs. The Wild Card Game is Oct. 6 and the NLDS starts two days later.

Belt was hurt in the seventh inning on Sunday when he squared to bunt against lefty Lucas Gilbreath. He took a 93 mph pitch off the thumb and came out of the game a few minutes later. Belt expressed optimism to teammates after the game, but an initial scan taken in Denver was inconclusive. The X-ray on Monday brought the bad news.

The blow is a big one to the Giants, who have a two-game lead in the NL West with six to go. Belt has been their best player over the last two months, hitting 18 homers and posting a 1.085 OPS since returning from a knee injury on August 5. He is one of the few who is in the heart of Gabe Kapler's lineup no matter who is on the mound for the opposing team.


While the calendar is not at all in Belt's favor, he has come back from setbacks in the past. He suffered a bad concussion in 2014 but returned in September and hit a memorable 18th-inning homer in the NLDS to help the Giants win a title. Earlier this season, Belt suffered a knee injury that was at first thought to be season-ending, but he avoided surgery, rehabbed, and came back playing the best baseball of his career. Belt also had a fractured thumb in 2014 and missed seven weeks that time.

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The Giants survived that first absence this year by very successfully plugging LaMonte Wade Jr. and Darin Ruf in as a first base platoon. While Ruf is on the IL, Wade and Wilmer Flores can attempt to form a similar partnership. 

The injury is also a blow on a personal level to Belt, a free agent at the end of the season. "The Captain" was one homer away from reaching 30 for the first time. He would have become the first Giants first baseman to reach that mark since Will Clark.

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