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Giants playoff notes: NLCS 'dream scenario' to get Belt back

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SAN FRANCISCO -- About an hour into the Giants' informal workout at Oracle Park on Tuesday, Brandon Belt walked out onto the field. Belt spent a few minutes fielding grounders at first base, glove-flipping the ball to bench coach Kai Correa since there's a soft brace on his throwing thumb, and then walked off to go track pitches in the indoor batting cage.

Belt missed the final week of the regular season after fracturing his left thumb. The work he's doing now is not close to actual game action, but the Giants still hope to get him back at some point this month. 

"It's hard for me to say what the best-case scenario is," manager Gabe Kapler said. "We've talked about the NLCS as kind of the dream scenario, but I would never rule anything out because I can't feel for Brandon and I wouldn't say that it's any sort of sure thing that he would be available for that round. I just don't know."

The Giants will kick off their postseason on Friday at Oracle Park against either the St. Louis Cardinals or Los Angeles Dodgers. The NLCS wouldn't start until Oct. 16, exactly three weeks after Belt got hit by a pitch in a game against the Colorado Rockies. Belt is scheduled to get reevaluated later this week to see how the healing is going. 

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--- Kapler wasn't ready to name a Game 1 starter, saying that he has full trust in both Kevin Gausman and Logan Webb. One of them will start on Friday and the other on Saturday, with the Game 1 starter coming back as a potential Game 5 starter. Kapler said both pitchers would be available for a Game 5 if needed. 

 

"Believe it or not, we are still very much in conversation with players and medical and everybody to discuss what makes the most sense for the first couple of games," Kapler said.

The Giants have two strong choices. Gausman finished the year with a 2.81 ERA and threw well in his final two starts. Webb was dominant through the first seven innings on Sunday and the Giants won 18 of his final 20 starts. 

--- The Giants will hold three optional workouts at Oracle Park before Friday's game, and Kapler expected just about every player to take part. Tuesday's workout ended with a simulated game, with Alex Wood, Johnny Cueto and Jake McGee facing hitters. 

McGee was activated Saturday but didn't pitch in either of the weekend games. Kapler said the staff wanted to see him let it rip a little in his sim game. McGee threw about 15 pitches and said he felt the ball was coming out of his hand well.

"The last eight or nine, I really tried to push it," he said. "I feel really good. I'm good to go."

--- The Giants can carry nine players on a taxi squad in the postseason, although Kapler wasn’t sure if they would go that deep. They appeared to be close to that number on Tuesday. 

Catcher Joey Bart, infielders Thairo Estrada and Jason Vosler and pitchers Jose Quintana and Sammy Long were at Oracle Park, and the Giants will also have to cut two players from the 28-man roster that finished the regular season. 

--- Finally, a fun anecdote from Sunday. Kapler said that when he took Webb out of the final game of the season, he grabbed him and told him to soak in the moment as he walked off the mound. As Webb walked to the dugout, Buster Posey turned to Kapler and told him he had just told the young right-hander the same thing. 

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