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.

Braves trade David Hernandez to the Angels

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The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels have completed a minor trade: Atlanta is sending righty reliever David Hernandez to the Angels in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Hernandez hasn’t pitched in the big leagues this year. He’s pitched in seven games at Triple-A, allowing one earned run in eight innings of work. In seven years of big league work he’s got an ERA of 4.10 in 379 games. Last year he put up a 3.84 ERA in 70 games for the Phillies.

I’m assuming the PTBNL is not Mike Trout.

The Nats are sniffing around for relief pitching help

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The Nationals began the year with Blake Treinen as their closer. That didn’t last long, and now Koda Glover seems to be Dusty Baker’s man in the ninth inning. He earned a save for the second consecutive game yesterday. Glover has been pretty darn good in the early going, posting a 2.35 ERA and striking out six batters and walking only one in seven and two-thirds. That obviously a small sample size, and anything can happen. If it does, Baker has Shawn Kelley as an option.

Not many household names there, which is probably why the Nationals are reported to be interested in the White Sox’ David Robertson and Alex Colome of the Rays. That report comes from Jim Bowden of ESPN, who also notes that the A’s have a number of guys with closing experience on staff and are likely to be sellers too. The David Robertson thing may have more legs, though, given that Mike Rizzo and Rick Hahn pulled off a pretty major trade in the offseason. If you know a guy well, you call that guy first, right?

As far as problems go this isn’t a huge one. The Nats sit at 13-5 and, as expected by most prognosticators, are in first place in the National League East. The Cubs had some questions in the pen this time last year too. They had the luxury of trying to figure it out before making a massive trade for a closer. The Nats do too, and likely will. But expect them to be a part of any trade rumor conversation for the next couple of months.