The San Francisco Giants have had a lot of bad injury luck this season, but they got some good news on that front on Monday. Prior to their series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Giants manager Gabe Kapler revealed that the organization is optimistic that Brandon Belt can avoid surgery.
Belt was placed on the Injured List late last week after injuring his right knee during a win over the Los Angeles Angels. At the time, Kapler was transparent about the team’s fear that it might require surgery. That would be a huge loss for the team, and a big hit for a player in the final year of his deal, who might only have one more big contract ahead of him.
While no decision has been made, Belt has received a second opinion, and it sounds like the team is leaning towards rehab for what is being described as “minimal structural damage.” Belt is heading for a third opinion from Dr. Tim McAdams, a sports medicine and knee specialist at Stanford.
Brandon Belt knee update: “minimal structural damage,” according to Gave Kapler. Belt got second opinion and third is coming up. Looking at rehab instead of surgery, good news for Giants.— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) June 29, 2021
We’re likely still a long ways away from having a timeline for Belt’s return, but if he is indeed able to avoid surgery, conventional wisdom says he should be back this season.
The Giants are decently set at first base while he’s out, with LaMonte Wade Jr. and Darin Ruf likely to take the bulk of the reps there. But they’ll certainly miss Belt’s bat, as he has turned back the clock with the Giants new coaching staff. In 380 plate appearances over the last two seasons, Belt is slashing .279/.392/.549, with 20 home runs, and 58 walks to 101 strikeouts. His OPS of 158+ is one of the best in the league during that period.