The San Francisco Giants lost first baseman Brandon Belt to a broken thumb in Friday's win over the Dodgers, and manager Bruce Bochy has tabbed left fielder Michael Morse as the man to fill in for Belt while he's out, according to the San Jose Mercury News' Alex Pavlovic.
Broken thumbs can take any number of weeks to heal, as McCovey Chronicles' Grant Brisbee wrote, though the initial outlook appears to be around six weeks. After so many lengthy injuries to Giants players last season, that timeframe appears relatively tame, though the lack of viable backup options does raise some concern while Belt spends time on the disabled list. The move stretches the offense about as thin as it can go, given the team's lack of depth and second baseman Marco Scutaro's ongoing back issues.
Even so, while Belt's injury certainly hurts the Giants, it's not quite as bad as one might think. Most significantly, Morse's move to first base immediately provides a marked improvement to the defense because Gregor Blanco, whose primary value comes in his defensive prowess, will presumably become the everyday left fielder–a huge upgrade over Morse's lackluster ability in left.
The Giants also brought outfielder Tyler Colvin up from Triple-A Fresno while optioning right-hander George Kontos back down, though the former wasn't exactly knocking the cover off the ball at Fresno with his .267/.315/.408 slash line. Colvin has provided hints of a breakout performance in the past, including his .858 OPS across 452 plate appearances in 2012, but given his recent struggles, that could have been nothing more than an anomaly. Cautious optimism is probably the best way for Giants fans to approach Colvin at this point.
Should Blanco, who is 4-for-38 on the season, continue to struggle, or if Colvin picks up where he left off last season with his .472 OPS, the Giants could also turn to Adam Duvall, as manager Bruce Bochy hinted. The Giants minor league infielder has split time between third and first base this season, and unlike Colvin, he has been knocking the cover off the ball with his Pacific Coast League-leading 12 home runs.
One of the prerequisites for the Giants' success this season was to avoid injuries, which exposed the team's poor depth last season and led to all sorts of problems. Luckily for Bochy and Co., the emergence of second baseman Brandon Hicks has helped offset the loss of Scutaro, though Hicks' recent struggles have raised some questions about his ability to fill in as a long-term solution, especially considering his current .193 batting average is starting to fall more in line with his career numbers, which included 12 hits in 90 career at-bats heading into the season. In other words, the Giants could use Belt and Scutaro as soon as possible to provide help for a roster that can't afford much more in the way of long-term injuries.