Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was hit in the hand with a pitch from Dodgers starter Paul Maholm leading off the top of the second inning on Friday night. Belt stayed in to run the bases, but did not take his position in the bottom half of the inning. Instead, Joaquin Arias took his spot at first base while Belt was attended to in the clubhouse.
Bad news for the Giants: CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly reports that Belt has a broken thumb and will “undoubtedly” go on the disabled list for the first time in his career. Baggarly adds that an easy short-term roster solution would involve Belt going on the DL and Matt Cain coming off of it, but the Giants will want to address their first base situation regardless, which could mean Travis Ishikawa could come up from Triple-A Fresno.
Belt entered the game as one of the Giants’ most productive hitters, slashing .264/.312/.504 with nine home runs and 18 RBI.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.