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Giants have 'concerns' as Belt hits IL; Wade Jr. recalled

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SAN FRANCISCO -- As expected, the Giants will be without Brandon Belt for this weekend's big series against the Oakland Athletics, and possibly a lot longer. 

Belt was placed on the Injured List on Friday with right knee inflammation. The Giants recalled LaMonte Wade Jr. from Triple-A Sacramento to take his roster spot and likely form a first base platoon with Darin Ruf. Wade, one of the Giants' hottest hitters in recent weeks, was surprisingly sent down to Triple-A after last Sunday's game when the Giants needed to open up two roster spots.

No immediate timetable was given for Belt's return but there is concern. The Giants are still gathering more information and trying to determine next steps. Surgery is a possibility.

“I think the concerns are there, yeah,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

Belt was hurt in the eighth inning of Wednesday's win over the Los Angeles Angels when he nearly scored from first on a single and a throwing error. Belt went first-to-third on the single, and when the throw to third got away from Anthony Rendon, he turned and headed home. He appeared to be a bit hobbled as he ran the final 90 feet, and after he was tagged out he began limping and went down in the grass behind the plate. 

The Giants have had plenty of injuries this season -- Belt previously missed time with an oblique strain -- but the concern has to be ramped up given the fact that this is a knee Belt has already had surgically repaired. He had his meniscus cleaned up late in the 2018 season and also underwent a microfracture procedure to repair cartilage that was damaged when he injured his knee that July. Belt has since said that he never felt fully recovered from the surgery until the 2020 season began.

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Belt had a huge bounceback last season and has a .875 OPS and 11 homers through 55 appearances this season. Over the last two years, he's seventh in the NL in OPS, sliding in just between 2020 MVP Freddie Freeman and Bryce Harper. 

Belt is third on the Giants in on-base percentage, OPS+ and homers, but first base is one area where they do have depth. Wilmer Flores is needed at third base right now to fill in for Evan Longoria, but he has played a lot of first for the Giants. Ruf was having one of the best stretches of his career when he previously filled in for Belt, and Wade was a revelation when he took a turn at first. 

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