DENVER - Bruce Bochy thought about giving Brandon Belt another night off Wednesday to rest his sore knee, but the first baseman told him he wanted to play, explaining that he has missed enough time this season because of injuries. One rookie batting behind Belt was surely happy to see him in there. In his first week in the big leagues, Chris Shaw has tried to soak up as much as he can from a hitter with a similar build.
"Belt is a guy that I try to watch because he's hitting ahead of me in the order and he's a big lefty," Shaw said. "The way it is, I figure I'll probably get pitched similarly to him, so I pay attention to what he's doing and talk to him about what his approach is and what he looks for. I'm really similar to him as far as approach goes. Once we start looking in, we kind of leave ourselves susceptible to other things."
Belt has found his most success at the big leagues when he's focused on the middle of the field, although at times that can lead to frustration at AT&T Park. Shaw's first big league homer was crushed to right-center, but he said it's the opposite gap that actually is a target.
"When I know I'm going well and my swing is where it needs to be, I'm even taking a ball that's middle or middle-in and driving it to the left-center part of the yard," Shaw said. "That shows me I'm staying on the inside part of the baseball and staying through and finishing my swing. Whenever I can get stuff in the air that way with backswing I know I'm in a good spot."
In his first week in the majors, Shaw hasn't found that groove. The homer is his lone hit in 14 at-bats, and he has 10 strikeouts. The Giants will keep running him out there, though. This month is about development, and this is a chance for one of their top prospects to get his feet wet. Shaw talked about that and much more on this week's episode of The Giants Insider Podcast. You can stream it here or download it on iTunes here.