The offseason hasn't been kind to Giants first baseman Brandon Belt.
Belt underwent surgery in October to remove a bone spur from his right heel, tested positive for COVID-19 in January and then arrived late to spring training as he recovered from mononucleosis. That's a hell of a trifecta.
Now the big question for the Giants is, will Belt be ready for Opening Day in April? Manager Gabe Kapler is cautiously optimistic about Belt's progress but it's far from a guarantee the first baseman suits up in the season opener against the Seattle Mariners as he's yet to play in a spring training game.
"I think one thing that really is encouraging is that if you had asked me the same question two weeks ago, I would have said 'there's very little chance that Brandon is on our Opening Day roster,' " Kapler said Monday morning on KNBR's "Murph & Mac" show. "I still think it's just as likely that we need to wait a few days and maybe a week after the season opens and we'll see where Brandon is day to day. He still hasn't played in the spring training games, so that tells you a lot.
"But I really do feel like nothing's off the table at this point."
Belt, who will turn 33 years old on April 20, also missed last season's Opening Day due to injury. He then returned and had the best season of his 10-year career, hitting .309 with nine homers and a 1.015 OPS over 51 games in the shortened season.
He finished 16th in NL MVP voting.
Though Belt has yet to play in a spring training game this year, Kapler is happy with what he has seen from Belt and expects him to soon make his first appearance in the Cactus League.
"He's progressing nicely, he's getting a lot of reps in live BP, his work on defense is great, he started working his running progression ... I don't think it's long before you see him get a pinch-hit appearance and then build him up in the field," Kapler said.
"Again, not to be coy about this but nothing's off the table and don't have a strong indication where this is going quite yet."
Kapler of course hopes Belt is ready to roll for Game 1. If he's not, Kapler could go with Darin Ruf or Wilmer Flores at first base against Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales.
This is a wait-and-see situation, but time is running out.