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Panda, Posey to split time at 1st with Belt out

Special to MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- With Brandon Belt expected to miss up to three weeks after undergoing an appendectomy late Friday night, the Giants plan to platoon Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey at first base.

Sandoval was in San Francisco's starting lineup Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies and will get the majority of work against right-handed pitching. Posey, the Giants' five-time All-Star catcher, will play first against lefties.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- With Brandon Belt expected to miss up to three weeks after undergoing an appendectomy late Friday night, the Giants plan to platoon Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey at first base.

Sandoval was in San Francisco's starting lineup Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies and will get the majority of work against right-handed pitching. Posey, the Giants' five-time All-Star catcher, will play first against lefties.

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"You look at the bright light or silver lining and the fact that Pablo's here to help out," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's been doing a good job in his role, and this is part of his role, if something happens at first base or third base, he would be ready to step in. We are lucky in that respect, and the fact that Buster can play first and we have Nick [Hundley] here to catch. So I think we have pretty good coverage."

Sandoval has been the Giants' most versatile infielder this season. In addition to being the primary backup to Belt along with third baseman Evan Longoria, Sandoval has made two starts at second base. He has also taken grounders at shortstop during pregame infield practice.

Of the two, Posey has more experience at first base with 191 starts and 218 games played there. But Posey is also the Giants' top catcher and so Bochy will mix and match until Belt returns.

"I think you'll see Pablo out there mostly against the right-handed pitching," Bochy said. "Against lefties I probably will try to get Buster out there at first base."

Posey was not behind the plate Saturday. He was held out with a bruised elbow, the result of getting hit by a pitch from Phillies starter Nick Pivetta in the fourth inning of Friday's series opener.

Belt was removed from Friday's game following the second inning and was taken to a local hospital for possible appendicitis. He underwent surgery later that night and was released from the hospital a few hours before the scheduled first pitch Saturday.

Bochy said Belt is likely to miss three weeks.

"Could be a little sooner, could be a little longer, but I think that's the baseline," Bochy said. "We're all a little different in how we recover off this. He's going to be down for a little while."

Belt is hitting .307, best among Giants starters, with a team-best 11 homers and 31 RBIs.

"You're talking about one of the most proficient hitters in baseball at this point when you look at OPS, on-base, all of that," Bochy said. "What's disappointing is you get Joe Panik back and for one inning we had our club out there. Now we lost Belt, so that's disappointing."

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Giants, Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval