SAN FRANCISCO -- A night after Aramis Garcia, a catcher, started at first base, Bruce Bochy put outfielder Austin Slater there. His regular first baseman needs a cart to get through the hallways of AT&T Park, but Brandon Belt, speaking for the first time since having knee surgery, said he's optimistic about the steps ahead.
Belt will be off his feet for three more weeks but said he'll only be about two weeks behind his usual offseason lifting schedule. He revealed that the procedure, performed last week, was actually a bit more complicated than the Giants first anticipated. Belt had his right meniscus cleaned up for the second time in four years but also had a microfracture procedure to help repair cartilage that was damaged when he hurt his knee in Seattle in July. He also said the meniscus irritation was something he dealt with all season.
"I was playing on some degree of it the whole season, but it really got bad after Seattle," he said. "I'm happy it's taken care of."
Belt's promising season was wrecked by injuries. He was hitting .307 with a .950 OPS when he needed emergency surgery to remove his appendix on June 1. At the time, Belt was on pace for about 30 homers and 90 RBI, but he finished at 14 and 46. His numbers took a big dip after he hurt his knee running through first base against the Mariners. From that point on, he batted .163 with just three extra-base hits in 86 at-bats.
"Sometimes you just lose rhythm from being out a couple of weeks," Belt said. "Trying to get that rhythm and timing back is tough."
Belt said the injuries can't fully explain the drop.
"It wasn't 100 percent, but I felt nobody is 100 percent right now," he said.