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.

Report: Orioles re-sign Pedro Alvarez to minors deal

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The Orioles have re-signed infielder Pedro Alvarez to a minor league deal, per a report from Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. The deal guarantees Alvarez $1 million if he makes the 40-man roster and another $2 million in potential performance bonuses. The team has yet to confirm the deal.

This will be Alvarez’s third year with the Orioles. After posting decent numbers in 2016, the 31-year-old was relegated to the minors for the majority of the 2017 season and saw only 14 games at the big league level. He finished the year with an underwhelming .239/.294/.442 batting line and 26 home runs through 595 plate appearances for Triple-A Norfolk.

Alvarez is expected to split his time between first base and DH this spring, and MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli notes that he’s unlikely to experiment with another outfield role. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the majors, the veteran infielder will function purely as insurance for first baseman Chris Davis and designated hitter Mark Trumbo and will likely begin the season in the minors.