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Giants pay tribute to Belt with captain hats during BP

NBC Sports

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants will take the field without Captain Belt on Tuesday night, and possibly every game the rest of the season. But the best running joke of the season was still well-represented during batting practice on Tuesday. 

Four Giants pitchers paid homage to Brandon Belt by wearing captain's hats as they played catch on Tuesday afternoon and some staffers wore them, as well. Kevin Gausman, Jose Alvarez, Scott Kazmir and Dominic Leone were the ones to do it, and the hats were also distributed throughout the clubhouse. The Giants also gave them out to fans sitting in the "415" section beyond Triples Alley.

Belt, who was put on the IL on Tuesday with a fractured left thumb, has become the self-proclaimed captain of the team since a road trip to Chicago earlier this month. Belt said during the flight there that he was the team captain, and when Evan Longoria taped a 'C' to the chest of his road jersey, Belt surprised teammates by actually wearing it out to the field during a game against the Cubs. 

"It really just started on the plane the other day," he said afterward, somehow keeping a straight face. "I just felt like in my heart I had been the captain all year, so I just told everybody to let me get off the plane first since I was the team captain. And they did. When people know that you're the guy, they don't say anything, they just do it."

RELATED: Giants hope to mimic success from Belt's first absence

The tape lasted just one day but Belt has been making a 'C' with his hands after big moments, of which he has had many in recent weeks. On the flight from San Diego to Denver last week he wore a captain's outfit and several teammates played along

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