DENVER -- The Giants optioned Brandon Belt to Triple-A Fresno with instructions for the first baseman to refine his hitting technique.Belt, who turned 23 on Wednesday, was dropped from the active Major League roster to accommodate outfielder Cody Ross, who officially left the 15-day disabled list. Ross started in right field and batted fifth in Wednesday's series finale against the Colorado Rockies. Belt entered Spring Training with the same sort of hype that accompanied 2010 Rookie of the Year Buster Posey's ascent to the Majors. Belt made the Opening Day lineup at first base after hitting .282 in 28 exhibition games, with three home runs and 13 RBIs -- which tied him for second on the team. But consistency eluded the 6-foot-5 Texan, who hit .192 in 17 games with the Giants. Belt said that he examined videos of himself and realized that a "timing issue" has been causing him to dip the barrel of the bat ever so slightly when he swings.
"I'm fouling balls off, even if I'm getting to them in time," he said. "I'm confident I can fix it pretty soon."Belt relished his stint with the Giants, short as it was. "Even though it didn't go the way I wanted, it still was a lot of fun," Belt said. "It gave me an idea of what to expect when I get back here. And hopefully, I'll be back up here sooner than later."
Sandoval injured during BP, pulled from lineup
DENVER -- A strained right triceps forced third baseman Pablo Sandoval to be scratched from the Giants' lineup for Wednesday's series finale against the Colorado Rockies.Sandoval had hit safely in 14 of 17 games, while building a team-high .328 batting average and belting five home runs -- matching Pat Burrell for the team lead. Sandoval's three-run homer on Tuesday propelled the Giants to a 6-3 victory. The severity of Sandoval's injury was not immediately determined. With Sandoval sidelined, Mark DeRosa moved from first base, where he was stationed in the original lineup, to third base. Aubrey Huff, who had the day off, was penciled into the vacancy at first.
Giants to go with four-man rotation for now
DENVER -- Seizing upon Thursday's scheduled off-day, the Giants will temporarily employ a four-man starting rotation and keep Ryan Vogelsong in the bullpen.Vogelsong, who's replacing the injured Barry Zito in the rotation, would have been scheduled to start on Friday had the Giants stayed with their five-man contingent. Instead, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez will pitch Friday through Sunday, respectively, against the Atlanta Braves at San Francisco's AT&T Park. The Giants have another scheduled off-day on Monday, but manager Bruce Bochy indicated that he might slip Vogelsong into the rotation during the April 26-28 series at Pittsburgh.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.