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Belt's batting changes paying off handsomely

SAN FRANCISCO -- It is fair to say the Giants have been waiting for years for this version of Brandon Belt.

San Francisco hitting coach Hensley Meulens basically said as much with regard to the changes Belt has made at the plate.

Belt's adjustments are threefold: First, he's moved back in the batter's box. He's also standing taller there. Lastly, he's adjusted his grip on the bat so his top wrist is pointed away from his body instead of toward it.

The results: Belt entered Saturday hitting .458 (11-for-24) in August, and he batted third again, this time against a lefty, Wei-Yin Chen.

Belt "was humbled when he didn't get to play a few games," Meulens told KNBR 680's Marty Laurie. "We brought [Brett] Pill up and he got to sit there and watch him play. It's good competition. He then proceeded to finally make some of the changes we wanted him to make the past few years."

Staying toward the front of the batter's box was the main difference.

"Nobody hits in front of the box like he does," Meulens said. "[Being toward the back of the box] gives you more time to see the pitches, more time to make your decision if you want to swing or not. That's why you're always in swinging mode because you don't have enough time to recognize the pitch. That's worked out beautifully."

Standing taller in the box helps Belt get squared up to the pitcher and not have to turn as much in his swing. Belt's agreement to change his grip on the bat was born after Meulens talked with Phillies slugger Domonic Brown at the All-Star Game. Brown had the same problem as Belt and changed his grip similarly. Meulens hooked up Brown with Belt and the two talked shop and exchanged numbers.

"[Belt is] a stubborn guy who's finally listening and finally trying to make changes, and it's paying off for him," Meulens said.

Batting third in the lineup? Belt has earned it. Staying there against left-handed starting pitchers? Ditto.

"Shoot, the way he's swinging the bat, I can't take him out of there," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm going to leave him in the three-hole. He's swinging well and looked comfortable. I don't want to stop him right now."

Willie Bans is a contributor to
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