Belt Recalled, Sanchez Sent Down
(AP Photo/Chris Carson)
GiantsPipeline Publisher
Posted Jul 19, 2011

Along with acquiring Jeff Keppinger from the Astros, the Giants recalled Brandon Belt on Tuesday. Belt had hit a healthy .293/.442/.610 for the Grizzlies since being activated from the disabled list in early July. He was playing both first base and corner outfield positions while with Fresno.

To make room for Belt, Hector Sanchez was sent back to Fresno. The 21-year-old catching prospect's first taste of the big leagues was short lived. Sanchez compiled a quick 0 for 3 with a walk and 2 Ks in 3 major league appearances. He was hitting .305 between San Jose and Fresno when he was called up last Friday.

But make no mistake: the big news is Belt's call-up.

Brandon Belt's dominance of the minor leagues has proven to be a constant in his brief, not-quite-two-year-old professional career. In the minors his numbers have compared favorably to those of Buster Posey's. However, transitioning to the big leagues has so far been rocky for the 23-year-old Belt.

Whether Belt sticks with the Giants this time around will likely be determined by his success at the plate -- in what may be a small sample size. Belt is in the starting lineup for Tuesday night's Giants game against the Dodgers. He'll be hitting sixth and playing at first as Aubrey Huff deals with lower back tightness. [Update: Belt ripped a solo home run in his first at bat.]

If Belt's impact is felt immediately, the Giants may be forced to keep his bat in the lineup. Huff's year-long struggles at the plate and the Giants' inability to score consistently may force Belt into a bigger role.

Whether Belt is able to figure out big league pitching this time around -- his 2011 MLB slash line is a feeble .211/.328/.281 -- would be an added bonus. Bottom line is, his ability to dominate the minor leagues bodes well for future success at the Major League level. For the astronomically high expectations surrounding Belt, it's hard to remember that just two years ago he was playing at the University of Texas.

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1B Brandon Belt (profile)
C Hector Sanchez (profile)
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