Brandon Belt on Giants’ bench for fourth straight game

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Apparently the Giants’ commitment to Brandon Belt as a regular lasted all of three games.

He went 1-for-10 with five strikeouts and has been on the bench for each of the past four games, including this afternoon’s matchup against the Pirates despite right-hander James McDonald being on the mound.

In fact, three of the four benchings have come versus right-handed pitching, so it’s not as if manager Bruce Bochy is simply shielding the left-handed-hitting Belt from tough southpaws.

There’s been lots of talk–or rationalizing, depending on your point of view–about how the Giants want Belt to make some major adjustments at the plate and he’s been hesitant to do so, but ultimately he’s a 23-year-old top prospect who’s crushed the ball at every level of the minors and was hardly disastrous in his 63-game debut last season (his OPS was higher than Aubrey Huff’s, for instance).

Belt is a career .343 hitter in the minors and hit .378 this spring, yet Bochy is perfectly happy to keep him on the bench while playing Huff, Nate Schierholtz, and Brett Pill. Maybe the Giants are right and Belt won’t thrive in the majors unless he makes some key adjustments, but at some point he deserves a chance to show what he can do without worrying about an 0-for-4 game getting him benched for a week.

Mets sign Ervin Santana to a minor league deal

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The Mets have signed pitcher Ervin Santana to a minor league deal.

Santana was most recently with the White Sox who designated him for assignment and subsequently released him in late April. It was a earned release, as he allowed 14 runs on 19 hits and six walks with five strikeouts over 13.1 innings before being cut. He only made five starts with the Twins in 2018 due to a an injury, but he was an All-Star in 2017 so why not kick the tires?

Santana will report to extended spring training to kick off the rust. Your guess is as a good as mine as to when or if he’ll pitch in New York this year.