Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was placed on the disabled list on Saturday morning with a broken left thumb that he suffered Friday night when he was struck by a Paul Maholm pitch. After a visit with hand specialist Dr. Tim McAdams, the situation is looking even grimmer. From beat reporter Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com …
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt will undergo surgery on Tuesday to insert two pins in his fractured left thumb, but the club still believes he can be ready to return in six weeks.
Dr. Tim McAdams will perform the procedure to stabilize multiple fractures in his proximal phalanx.
The pins won’t be removed for four weeks, which makes that six-week full-recovery timetable seem overly optimistic. Belt is going to have to ease back into hitting drills once the pins are out and will then have to go on a minor league rehab assignment to get his timing right. Baggarly writes Sunday that it’s “hard to envision him playing many games before the All-Star break, if at all.”
Belt, 26, had an .820 OPS (135 OPS+) with nine home runs and 18 RBI in 35 games this season.
Mike Morse is going to serve as the Giants’ primary first baseman through at least mid-June.
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.