SAN FRANCISCO -- This is the time of year when injuries come to light, and we got our first one on Wednesday. Brandon Belt had surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Belt played through the injury most of the season and often could be seen walking through the clubhouse with a big ice pack on his knee.
"They cleaned it up," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He had to take care of it so he went ahead and had that done. It was a nagging deal. He could play with it, but it was bothering him."
The injury didn't keep Belt from having a good year: .280 average, a career-high 18 homers and defense that could make him a Gold Glove finalist. Scouts noticed Belt wasn't running as fast, but he swiped nine bases and got five triples by playing in this big park. Bochy said the main issue for Belt was that the meniscus would slide on occasion and cause him pain. The recovery process is about four weeks, and that's perfect timing. Belt was already out for the year with his second concussion as a big leaguer, and that's part of the reason team orthopedist Ken Akizuki chose this time for the cleanup.
"It was still going to be a little while before he could do some baseball activities," Bochy said.
As for the concussions, Belt has now suffered three of them, with one coming when he played college ball at Texas. There has to be some long-term concern there, but Bochy said doctors have told him that Belt should be cleared pretty soon. Will the concussion issue linger?
"I can't really answer that. We expect he's going to be fine and be okay once he gets some time off," Bochy said. "That's how you have to feel. For his sake, I don't want this to stick with him. I haven't been told anything different."
Belt has two more years before he reaches free agency. He should receive a nice raise in arbitration this offseason.
--- Tonight's lineup has Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson in the corners and Marlon Byrd on the bench. Byrd, an everyday player since a trade with the Reds, needs just 15 plate appearances to reach an $8 million option. Bochy said he'll be playing Williamson and Parker down the stretch.
General manager Bobby Evans met with Byrd this afternoon and conveyed that the Giants still have interest in bringing him back. That's now a conversation for the offseason, since Byrd won't get the plate appearances he needs. It really is amazing how close this got. If the Giants had won last night, Byrd would be in there today. Had the division race gone into the weekend, Byrd very well could have gotten right up to the edge of the 550 plate appearances he needs. Instead ....
"I plan to play (the rookies) as much as I can," Bochy said. "It's going to be valuable for both of us, the player and us."
Bochy said he would talk to Byrd, too.
One more young outfielder note: Kelby Tomlinson will play the outfield in either instructional ball or the fall league. The staff is trying to turn him into a versatile utility guy.
--- Bochy said Tim Hudson's start on Thursday will be a short one by design. After that, the rotation is up in the air. It sounds like changes will be made, but Bochy wasn't ready to announce them Wednesday. Bochy and Dave Righetti talked about the bullpen, and it doesn't sound like anyone will be shut down yet.
Buster Posey will be back in the lineup tomorrow, and Bochy also said that Matt Duffy will finish the season out. He will end the year with 79 consecutive starts at third base.
"Looks like the streak is running into next year," Bochy said.
Who could have pictured that in April?