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Belt set for 'big step' in concussion recovery

Giants first baseman to start cardio workouts; Gomez has setback with knee
MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- First baseman Brandon Belt, who was diagnosed with a concussion earlier this month, will begin cardio activity Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said before the Giants opened a four-game set Thursday against the Phillies.

Bochy described Belt's development as a "big step towards rehabbing and getting back on the field. ... He seems to be doing a little better."

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SAN FRANCISCO -- First baseman Brandon Belt, who was diagnosed with a concussion earlier this month, will begin cardio activity Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said before the Giants opened a four-game set Thursday against the Phillies.

Bochy described Belt's development as a "big step towards rehabbing and getting back on the field. ... He seems to be doing a little better."

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The Giants' team doctors examined Belt on Wednesday and gave the green light on his first progress since being hit by a pitch Aug. 4. Belt departed the game and was later diagnosed with his fourth known concussion. The first baseman did not travel with the team during its East Coast road trip to Washington and Miami.

Bochy said the team is eager to get Belt -- who paces the team in homers (18), runs (63) and walks (66) -- back in the everyday lineup. The Giants have started rookie Ryder Jones at first in eight games, including Thursday, since Belt's injury. They've also started Buster Posey at first in three games.

Asked if the team considered shutting Belt down given his concussion history, Bochy said: "You'd hate to go into the offseason -- especially this time of year when you have six, seven weeks [left] -- and not play again. But at the same time, we're going to make sure that he's completely recovered. If not, we won't put him out there."

• Rookie Miguel Gomez (right knee inflammation) had a setback in his recovery, Bochy said. He was due to start a rehab plan Friday but felt pain while running the bases a couple of days ago.

"He's in a holding pattern right now," Bochy said.

• Second baseman Joe Panik, who joined Belt on the seven-day concussion disabled list during the road trip, will be evaluated Friday.

• Right-handed starter Johnny Cueto (mild right flexor strain) will throw his second bullpen session Friday, aiming for 35-40 pitches. Bochy said it's possible Cueto's next step could be a rehab start, but the team will wait to see how Friday goes before plotting a definitive plan.

• Outfielder Austin Slater (right groin strain) will begin running this week. The Giants are pleased by his progress amid a slew of injuries in the Major and Minor Leagues.

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Giants, Brandon Belt, Johnny Cueto, Miguel Gomez, Joe Panik, Austin Slater