There's been a pile of evidence this spring that Brandon Belt wouldn't start the season with the Giants. There was a report that the brass didn't feel like he was ready and there was his unhappy reaction to a possible demotion.
However, it's looking like he's going to start at first base on Opening Day, with Aubrey Huff in left field. At least that's what Bruce Bochy strongly hinted on Tuesday that Belt would earn the starting gig at first.
“He’s been getting most of the playing time there,’’ Bochy said, via Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury-News. “We’ve said we’d put the bats out there that are swinging well.”
Bochy also said that outfield "could be a major role" for Huff this season, which indicates that Belt will get a lot more run at first than anyone thought a few weeks ago.
And late last night, Jim Bowden of ESPN kind of, sort of reported that Belt had won the gig.
"Brandon Belt has won the opening day first base job for the SF Giants with Aubrey Huff expected to start in Left Field. #WellDeserved," Bowden tweeted.
Look, Huff makes a lot of money, but he's also in the last year of his contract. Belt is the organization's future at first base and he spent all of 2011 being yanked back and forth from Fresno to San Francisco thanks to injuries.
He needs the burn now. He's ready for the job. It complicates matters that Buster Posey, because of a need to keep him healthy and fresh, will need time at first this season as well. But he could need that over the long term too.
The reality is that if the Giants want to do right by Belt and set the team up to be better down the road, they'll go ahead and plug him in at first starting right now.
Which, it appears, is exactly what they're doing.