SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants don't have a target date set, but Bruce Bochy estimates that Brandon Belt's return is "about three weeks away -- in that area."
Belt had the pins removed from his fractured left thumb on Friday and filmed as the two stabilizing pieces of metal were yanked out of the Giants first baseman with a pair of pliers.
"It's a big day for him to get those pins out," Bochy said. "Just being able to move the hand a little bit and have it worked on."
Belt is now wearing a portable cast, which he will remove in one week's time. For now, it's a lot of running and one-armed swings, but Belt is expected to begin baseball activities when the cast comes off at the end of next week.
Describing the pin removal, Belt said the doctor was "pretty rough moving it around and it was okay."
"It feels good," he added, "my pain level is zero."
Belt was hit in the thumb by Dodgers starter Paul Maholm on May 9 and Dr. Tim McAdams performed the procedure to stabilize multiple fractures in Belt's proximal phalanx on May 13.
If Bochy's estimation is accurate, Belt will rejoin the Giants during the middle series of their 10-game homestand starting June 23 -- on par with the original six-week diagnosis for recovery.
Belt will be a boost when he returns, but Michael Morse has removed the sting of his loss, batting .361 with five home runs in 17 games at first base.