Brandon Belt is making progress from his concussion, but Hector Sanchez needs more time

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Some encouraging news and some less-than-good news for the Giants this evening.

Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com passes along word that first baseman Brandon Belt passed a concussion test and could begin working out today. Meanwhile, catcher Hector Sanchez failed his and will now have to wait another three or four days.

Belt suffered his concussion after he was hit in the face by a thrown ball during batting practice last Saturday. He wasn’t feeling any improvement as of a few days ago, so today is an important step in the right direction. The 26-year-old has already missed two months this season due to a broken thumb, but he could be a major contributor down the stretch if he can stay on the field.

Sanchez landed on the 7-day concussion disabled list after he was hit in the mask by a foul tip on Friday. The Giants are currently going with rookie Andrew Susac as Buster Posey’s backup catcher.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.