Wow: the Giants may make Brandon Belt their starting first baseman

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This would be unexpected: John Shea is reporting that the Giants may make Brandon Belt their starting first baseman. At least they’re “leading toward” doing.

There will be an announcement later today. If they go in that direction, one assumes that Pat Burrell would sit and Aubrey Huff would play left. Although, given that Burrell doesn’t profile like a particularly useful backup outfielder, who knows? UPDATE: Oops, forgot: with the Cody Ross injury, Huff plays right, Burrell stays in left. In my defense, I know a lot of you would like to forget Cody Ross.

I would have bet my beard that the Giants would have left Belt at AAA, partially to keep the service time clock from ticking but also because, man, they just won a World Series with Burrell and Huff and that they’d at least start the season with them both in the lineup. And maybe Shea is wrong and they’ll still to that.

But man, if this goes down, I love it.  Belt is a nice prospect who has impressed this spring. Seeing him on the roster with Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum would give Giants fans a nice glimpse of the next five years or more and would represent a team that is doing what every defending World Series champ has to do: continue to find ways to get better rather than resting on their laurels.

Report: Hanley Ramirez “eyed” in federal and state investigation

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Former Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez is reportedly being “eyed” in an ongoing federal and state investigation, per Michele McPhee of ABC News. McPhee did not elaborate on the exact nature of the investigation itself, but provided a few more details during an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub on Friday:

“Obviously, I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime,” McPhee said. “And there has been some reports about a FaceTime phone call that was made between a man during a car stop. After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs. And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”

McPhee further clarified that she thinks the suspect — who was reportedly transporting 435 grams of fentanyl and a “large amount” of crack cocaine — was tied to “a sweeping federal case involving a substantial ring that’s being operated out of Lawrence, Massachusetts.”

Ramirez, the Red Sox, and Major League Baseball have all denied knowledge of any current investigation. According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Red Sox VP of media relations Kevin Gregg insisted that Ramirez had been dropped from the team for baseball reasons alone and had not been made aware of an investigation at the time of his release.

“Hanley has no knowledge of any of the allegations contained in this media report and he is not aware of any investigation,” the infielder’s agent, Adam Katz, added Friday.

The 34-year-old Ramirez was designated for assignment on May 25 and became a free agent on June 1. Prior to his release, he batted .254/.313/.395 over 195 plate appearances, 302 shy of the 497-PA threshold he would have needed to cross in order to activate his vesting option for 2019. He’s still owed the remainder of his $22 million salary for 2018.