Belt exits after 93 mph fastball hits hand

Initial scan inconclusive; slugger will undergo X-rays when club returns home

September 27th, 2021

DENVER -- The Giants won their sixth consecutive game at Coors Field for the first time in franchise history, but the achievement was marred by the loss of first baseman , who departed Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Rockies after being drilled on the left hand.

Belt, San Francisco’s hottest hitter, was struck by a 93 mph fastball while squaring up to bunt against Rockies reliever Lucas Gilbreath in the top of the seventh inning. An initial scan came back inconclusive, and manager Gabe Kapler said Belt will undergo X-rays when the club returns home to San Francisco.

“It’s scary, especially when a fastball or a hard pitch in is either close to a guy’s hand or on his hand or fingers because there are so many little bones in there that could break,” shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “You need your hands. They’re pretty important in baseball, especially his throwing hand. That’s scary, but from talking to him, he seems like he should be all right and hopefully not miss too much time.”

Belt went deep twice in Saturday's 7-2 win and leads the Giants with a career-high 29 home runs this year, but Kapler said he didn’t have an issue with the bunt attempt against Gilbreath.

“Not at all,” Kapler said. “He knows when the best way for him to get on base is to put a bunt down. He knows when the best way to get on base is to take pitches. He knows when the right time is to take a crack at the ball in the gap or in the seats. Not surprised. I thought it was a smart play against a tough lefty late in the game.”

Belt immediately crumpled to the ground in pain after being hit, drawing a visit from team athletic trainer Dave Groeschner, but the 33-year-old veteran initially remained in the game and had his left wrist and thumb wrapped during a subsequent pitching change. He did not return to the field in the bottom of the seventh, as he was replaced by Wilmer Flores at first.

Belt missed nearly two months with a right knee injury earlier this year, but losing him for an extended period of time at this point would be a major blow to the Giants as they prepare for what they hope will be a long postseason run. Belt entered Sunday with a 1.174 OPS since Aug. 24, the third-highest mark in the Majors behind National League MVP candidates Bryce Harper and Juan Soto.

“It’s tough,” right-hander Kevin Gausman said. “He had something earlier in the year and came back way quicker than a lot of us expected, so he kind of joked that someone like him can come back from something really quick. I’m hoping that he’s back out there on Tuesday.”