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SF Giants welcome back longtime first baseman, option middle infielder

San Francisco Giants v Colorado Rockies
San Francisco Giants v Colorado Rockies / C. Morgan Engel/GettyImages
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The SF Giants will be receiving a boost on offense as longtime first baseman Brandon Belt has been activated from the injured list. Middle infielder Donovan Walton was optioned to Triple-A, per the team's transaction page.

SF Giants welcome back longtime first baseman, option middle infielder

Belt hit the injured list on May 19 after experiencing right knee inflammation. His stay on the injured list was expected to be short, but he was on the shelf for nearly a month. This has been a tough start to the season as the left-handed bat spent time on the COVID list as well.

He began the year on a high note, slashing .242/.367/.470 with four home runs, nine RBI, and 10 runs in 79 plate appearances through the first 17 games of the year. However, his production cratered as he recorded seven hits, including one extra-base hit, in 35 at-bats following a bout with COVID.

Nevertheless, San Francisco will be happy to have the 34-year-old back in the lineup as he brings a selective eye and patient approach that is tough to replace. He is coming off of an impressive 2021 campaign in which he posted a .274/.378/.597 line (159 OPS+) with 29 home runs, 59 RBI, and 65 runs. The home run output represented a career-high by a large margin.

In his absence, Wilmer Flores and Darin Ruf have been splitting time at first base. That said, it is tough to replace Belt's steady glove, so he will be a boost to the lineup as well as the infield defense.

Walton was optioned to make room for Belt on the 26-man roster. The Giants originally acquired the middle infielder in exchange for pitching prospect Prelander Berroa from the Seattle Mariners last month.

The left-handed bat struggled to the tune of a .161/.190/.339 line (46 OPS+) with one home run, eight RBI, and seven runs across 58 plate appearances with the Giants. In a bit of an oddity, Walton recorded just nine hits with San Francisco, but seven of them went for extra bases.

While the Giants have struggled badly on defense, the 28-year-old was surprisingly steady at second base and shortstop in a brief showing at each position. The ability to play shortstop will likely be what keeps him on the 40-man roster.

The Giants have dealt with plenty of injuries this season. They continue to pile up as Jakob Junis hit the injured list with a hamstring strain, but the Giants lineup is inching closer to full health. The return of Belt should help stabilize an offense that has been inconsistent at times.

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