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Belt gets scare when ball hits broken thumb

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, who underwent surgery Tuesday to repair his broken left thumb, is sporting a club-like cast on his left hand.

Belt was lucky he had that protection Friday night when he was in the dugout during the Giants' game against Miami.

"I actually got hit with a ball the other day when I was sitting in the dugout," Belt said Sunday. "It hurt. Hit me right on my thumb."

First baseman Michael Morse threw a ball into the dugout before the start of an inning. It hit the dirt, bounced into the dugout and found Belt's injured thumb.

"I tried to swat it away. My reaction time was not very good," said Belt, who has been taking pain pills since his surgery. "Didn't feel good. It started throbbing. I just came in and sat in the training room after that. It hit me on the cast part but it just vibrated my entire hand."

Since then, Belt has covered his thumb with a batting helmet while in the dugout. He said his thumb feels much better now than it did the first few days after surgery.

"I'm doing good, I guess," said Belt, who's expected to be out until at least late June. "The thumb's doing better. It's not hurting 24-7 now. I've been through this before. I guess I'm doing all right. Just waiting. That's the hardest part. Yesterday was really the first day it wasn't bothering me that much."

Belt said he'll get the cast off Friday and replace it with a removable splint.

Belt missed over a month of the 2011 season after being hit by a pitch on his left wrist and suffering a hairline fracture. Before that, the longest stretch of any season he missed was when he was 8 years old and had surgery on a finger on his left hand.

"It's this hand right here. It takes a beating," Belt said. "I got hit by a ball. Actually, I was playing shortstop when I was 8. I was catching a line drive and I put my hand over my glove too fast. It hit the very tip of my finger. My joint underneath rotated and popped out of my skin. So I had to have surgery to put it back in there."

Eric Gilmore is a contributor to
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