Giants say no catcher needed, expect to use Brandon Belt off bench

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Runs?  Who needs ’em?  After all, the Giants are in first place now despite having the NL’s worst offense.

Speaking out prior to Friday’s game, Giants GM Brian Sabean said that he hasn’t made any inquiries about finding a replacement for Buster Posey and manager Bruce Bochy stated that the newly recalled Brandon Belt would be a bench player.

From the San Francisco Chronicle’s Hank Schulman comes word the Giants have heard from teams willing to part with a catcher.  However, Sabean said that he wants to give Eli Whiteside a chance to take over as a regular for now.  He hasn’t inquired about any possible replacements, such as Ivan Rodriguez or Ryan Doumit.

As for Belt, an obvious candidate to provide some sock out of the cleanup spot with Posey absent, Bochy said he’d see some time at first base and in the outfield, but that he’d mostly come off the bench and appear in games as a result of double-switches.

Belt hit .337/.470/.525 with four homers in 31 games after being demoted to Triple-A Fresno.  He was teeing off on right-handed pitching, batting .378/.515/.581.  It suggests that he’d make a great platoonmate for the right-handed-hitting Pat Burrell in left field.

The Giants, though, have been primarily going with a defense-first alignment and putting Nate Schierholtz in right field, with Cody Ross playing left.  It’s worked out OK, since Schierholtz has exceeded expectations by hitting .256/.309/.456.  Ross, though, is hitting just .215/.271/.337.  In all, Giants outfielders are hitting .254/.331/.391 with a mere 55 RBI in 561 at-bats.  That might make it worth sacrificing some defense to get Belt’s bat in there.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.