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LOS ANGELES -- The Giants debated how best to replace Brandon Belt at first base. #BeastMode won.
The club plans to give left fielder Michael Morse the bulk of playing time at first base while Belt recovers from a fractured left thumb, a healing process that is roughly estimated at six weeks.
The Giants purchased the contract of left fielder Tyler Colvin from Triple-A Fresno prior to Saturday’s game at Dodger Stadium. Colvin will get a look in left field, where he and Gregor Blanco will fall into a competition for playing time.
Manager Bruce Bochy said he and the staff also “talked quite a bit” about recalling infielder Adam Duvall, who hit his 11th home run Friday night and is batting .259/.329/.541 for Triple-A Fresno.
But they were more comfortable with Colvin’s experience, as well as Morse’s 130 major league games at first base. Morse, who came up as a shortstop, played seven games at first base last season for the Seattle Mariners but he didn’t log a single inning there in spring training.
Buster Posey is starting at first base on Saturday as the Giants go for a series win against their archrivals. Bochy said Morse could be the first baseman as soon as Sunday, but they also could get him some additional ground balls first.
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Posey will make occasional starts at first base; Hector Sanchez could pick up a few starts there, too.
“Right now we feel this is the best way to go,” Bochy said. “I talked to Morse. He has experience and he’s comfortable making this move.”
Colvin, who probably would’ve made the club as a non-roster invitee if he hadn’t dealt with a lower back issue, got off to a slow start for Fresno but was batting .300 with two homers, two triples and 10 RBIs in his last nine games.
Colvin, a left-handed hitter, had a .298/.343/.479 line against right-handed pitchers. So maybe you’ll see Colvin start against right-handers, with Morse in left field against lefties and Sanchez in the lineup either at first or catcher.
As for Blanco, he’s hitting .105 in 38 at-bats. The pressure on him to perform when given the chance just got ratcheted up a few notches.
“Their play, how they do, will determine who goes out there,” Bochy said. “it’s fair to say Gregor has had a hard time getting it going. Colvin was swinging better in Fresno. He runs well. He’s a good outfielder so those are two good options there.”
Colvin, 28, also had a June 1 opt-out deadline worked into his minor league contract. The Giants created space on the 40-man roster for Colvin by transferring Marco Scutaro to the 60-day disabled list.
This roster configuration with Morse at first base dovetails with Bochy’s leaning to go back to 13 pitchers once left-hander David Huff is ready to be activated, which could happen within a day or two. Bochy won’t employ a defensive replacement at first base for Morse the way Juan Perez has caddied for him in left field.
“This gives us more speed in the outfield, although Morse has been doing a good job,” Bochy said.
Then tongue in cheek, Bochy added, “This will cut down his quality starts, too. He won’t go six innings. He’ll be going all nine.”
The Giants also optioned right-hander George Kontos to Fresno to make room for Matt Cain (cut finger), who was activated from the DL so he could return to the rotation Saturday.