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Brandon Belt left Friday’s game to undergo an emergency appendectomy

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UPDATE, 4:41 PM ET: The Giants placed Belt on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. In a corresponding move, they reinstated second baseman Alen Hanson from the disabled list, where he was rehabbing a left hamstring strain.

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Giants first baseman Brandon Belt made it through just two innings of Friday’s series opener against the Phillies. After his first at-bat — a swinging strikeout against Philadelphia’s Nick Pivetta — the infielder appeared to be in serious pain and was quickly removed from the game and sent to a local hospital to be evaluated and treated for appendicitis.

The Giants confirmed the emergency appendectomy on Saturday and are expected to place Belt on the 10-day disabled list sometime this weekend. Belt tweeted out a photo from the hospital following the procedure; while it looks like he’s on the road to recovery, a definite timetable for his return to the team has yet to be established.

Pablo Sandoval stepped in for the ailing first baseman on Friday and could split time there with Buster Posey until Belt’s return. Per Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Belt isn’t the first Giants player to undergo an appendectomy in recent years. Former MLB outfielder Andres Torres underwent the same procedure back in 2010 and needed just under two weeks to make a full recovery, though time will tell if Belt can recover as speedily following his surgery.

Prior to the incident, the 30-year-old infielder was among the team’s top producers at the plate, boasting a .307/.403/.547 batting line, 11 home runs and a .950 OPS through 226 plate appearances. This is his first major health scare of the season; he’s been injury-free since last August, when he was struck in the head by a pitch and missed nearly two months on the disabled list.

Astros owner Crane expects to hire new manager by Feb. 3

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HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astros owner Jim Crane expects to hire a new manager by Feb. 3.

The Astros need a new manager and general manager after AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were fired Monday, hours after both were suspended by Major League Baseball for a year for the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

Crane said Friday that he’s interviewed a number of candidates this week and has some more to talk to in the coming days.

Crane refused to answer directly when asked if former Astros player and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was a possibility for the job. But he did say that he had spoken to Biggio, fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and former Astros star Lance Berkman in the days since the firings.

“We’ve talked to all of our Killer B’s,” Crane said referring to the nickname the three shared while playing for the Astros. “They’ve contacted me and they’ve all expressed that they would like to help. Berkman, Bagwell, Biggio have all called and said: ‘hey, if there’s anything I can do, I’m here for you.’”

“So we’ll continue to visit with those guys and see if there’s something there.”

Crane says his list is still rather extensive and that he hopes to have it narrowed down by the end of next week. He added that he expects most of Hinch’s staff to stay in place regardless of who is hired.

Crane has enlisted the help of three or four employees to help him with the interview process, including some in Houston’s baseball operations department.

“We compare notes,” he said. “I’ve learned a long time ago that you learn a lot if four or five people talk to a key candidate and you get a lot more information. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Crane’ top priority is finding a manager with spring training less than a month away, but he said he would start focusing on the search for a general manager after he hires a manager. He expects to hire a GM before the end of spring training.

“We should have another good season with the team pretty much intact … so I don’t know why a manager wouldn’t want to come in and manage these guys,” he said. “They’re set to win again.”

The penalties announced by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday came after he found illicit use of electronics to steal signs in Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. The Astros were also fined $5 million, which is the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and must forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

The investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter’s odds of getting a hit.

With much still in flux, Crane was asked what qualities are most important to him in his next manager.

“Someone mature that can handle the group,” he said. “Someone that’s had a little bit of experience in some areas. We’ve just got to find a leader that can handle some pressure and there’s going to be a little bit of pressure from where this team has been in the last few months.”

Despite his comment about experience, Crane said having been a major league manager before is not mandatory to him.

“We made some mistakes,” he said. “We made a decision to let that get behind us. We think the future is bright. We’ll make the adjustments … people think we’re in crisis. I certainly don’t believe that.”