So what did the San Francisco Giants give Brandon Belt for his 23rd birthday on Wednesday?
An all-expense-paid trip to Fresno. Go crazy, Brandon!
“Yeah, a pretty good birthday present,” Belt told reporters after learning of his demotion to Triple-A Fresno.
OK, not the greatest news to learn on your birthday, but it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to the first baseman.
First of all, he was hitting .192 with 13 strikeouts in 60 plate appearances. Projected over a full season, that would be almost 100 whiffs. Not exactly what the Giants had in mind.
Big-league pitchers quickly found the hole in Belt’s spring and exploited it. Meanwhile, Belt struggled to close that hole, developing a hitch in his swing.
Also, Bruce Bochy had said many times that he wanted to add offense to the lineup with Cody Ross on the DL. And that played a role in Belt opening the season in the majors.
The implication is that if Ross were healthy, Belt may have opened in Fresno. So now that Ross is back, it comes as no surprise that Belt is headed down.
Some bloggers believe the Giants are doing Belt wrong by sending him down, contending that they should have either committed to him from the get-go or sent him to Fresno to start the year.
MoreSplashHits does not believe a demotion after three weeks in the majors will have any ill effect on Belt’s development. We believe it gives Belt a clearer picture on what he needs to do to be major-league ready.
This is the best move for the Giants. Belt gets to work on his swing in the minors, rather than scuffling in the majors at the expense of potential wins for the Giants.
Some feel the Giants didn’t do right by Belt. But they did right by the Giants. And that’s just fine with MoreSplashHits.
Oh yeah, and Brandon, if it makes you feel any better, MoreSplashHits spend his 22nd birthday deathly ill with food poisoning. The next day, I sat down to watch Game 3 for the 1989 World Series — which wasn’t played because of an earthquake.
So it could be worse.