SCOTTSDALE — Brandon Belt was hitless in his first seven at-bats at Salt River Fields, home of the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. In the four years since, he has made this place look like a little league park.
Belt was 3 for 3 on Wednesday, homering twice and lining a double through the shift. In his last eight games at Salt River, a gorgeous spring facility built near the Talking Stick Resort, Belt is 20 for 28 with seven homers, four doubles, a triple and 15 RBI.
Again: 20 for 28. Seven homers. Four doubles. A triple. Fifteen runs driven in. No wonder he joked earlier this week — after a 4 for 4 day here — that he would fly down to take batting practice at Salt River anytime he slumped during the regular season.
“Ideally you like to start peaking toward the end of spring,” Belt said Wednesday. “It’s a matter of trying to be as consistent as possible. I feel great up there no matter who is pitching. I feel dangerous every time … but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s spring training.”
Belt hit both homers off of lefty Chris Ray. The double came off lefty Wesley Wright. That continues a trend that has shown up off and on during Belt’s career, including the last two months of last season. At times, he crushes lefties.
There is one, a certain Cy Young winner down in Los Angeles, who has given Belt fits. Asked about Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday, Belt was coy, and somewhat serious.
“I’m working on that,” he said, explaining that he’s learning more about himself as a hitter and he’ll work to have a better approach against Kershaw.
The secret might be a simple one: Just find a way for the Giants to face the Dodgers at Salt River.
ICYMI: From this morning, Hunter Pence talked about his spring. And from this afternoon, Matt Cain on his latest outing and his spring. Manager Bruce Bochy said Cain might make his next start in minor league camp so that the staff can monitor his workload. If he comes out of that one OK, he’ll be ready for the regular season. Just in case, the Giants have Chris Heston pitching on Cain’s days so he’s lined up as a backup.
FAMILIAR FACE: Tim Hudson is here for a few days, and he knew exactly what he wanted to do when he arrived.
TIME OFF: Buster Posey didn’t play in either game Tuesday and he was off today, but Bochy said he’s fine. It was a planned 48 hours off for the catcher. Posey isn’t going to end up getting a lot of at-bats this spring, but that doesn’t matter much.
“I don’t think he needs that many,” Bochy said. “He’s swinging well. It’s much more important that we have him fresh when we leave here.”
HIGHLIGHT REEL: Ehire Adrianza made a slick play in the first, going deep into the hole and firing a strike to third to erase a runner who had been on second. In the sixth, Adrianza made a diving stop up the middle and popped up to throw Nick Ahmed out. He’s hitting .333 this spring. I think he has done enough to be in Milwaukee on Opening Day.
Adrianza was one-upped in the eighth by minor league utility man Ali Castillo. He laid out for a hard grounder, faked a throw to first, and then laid out again to tag a runner from third who had strayed too far off the bag. Bochy said he had heard quite a bit about Castillo and he turned to Ron Wotus in the eighth and said he hoped to see the kid get a chance to make a play. The very next pitch led to the play that had the crowd buzzing.
LIGHTER SIDE: Somebody help Kaskade. But more importantly, if you work for the Giants and you’re reading this, find a way to get him as the Friday Night DJ sometime.
QUOTABLE: "For it to work out -- I don't think we expected it to work out that good -- for it to work out the way it did, that was fun, that was exciting. We're kind of looking around like, alright, we can do some damage this year." -- Matt Duffy, on my podcast, on the lineup's first night together. The podcast is streaming here and can be found on iTunes here (along with Brandon Crawford and George Kontos podcasts).