SAN FRANCISCO – Here’s how Brandon Belt knows he’s feeling better: He’s confident he can make it all the way to the end credits of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie.
“I had to walk out halfway through or I was going to throw up,” said Belt, who spent nearly two months dealing with post-concussion symptoms. “There was too much going on.”
If there’s anything Belt likes more than movies, it’s competing against major league pitchers. He’s getting nearer to seeing them again, too. Belt took batting practice on the field Friday in addition to ground balls and a 90-minute cardio workout, all allowable activities following a positive assessment from concussion specialist Dr. Micky Collins in Pittsburgh.
Belt said he aced a visual acuity test in which he had to shake his head up and down while identifying letters on an eye chart.
“Still sharp as a tack,” Belt said. “They basically said I’m a genius. I’m good to go. I missed one the entire test. If they tried to give me that last time, I would’ve gotten sick.
“I don’t know why, but I get really competitive when I do eye charts.”
Belt missed seven weeks earlier this season with a fractured hand he sustained when hit by a pitch. He hadn’t been back for long when Marco Scutaro accidentally threw a ball in batting practice that struck Belt in the face July 19 at Miami. He was placed on the concussion DL and returned a week later, but his symptoms returned after just five games.
Belt said he was battling a head cold at that time and might have confused cold symptoms for concussion symptoms. Regardless, everything is clear as a bell now.
“I really don’t think it’ll be much longer, to be honest,” he said.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he didn’t see the harm in activating Belt right now. Even if he’s not ready to face major league pitching, and probably won’t be until after a couple of live batting practice sessions against some of the call-ups like Chris Heston and Brett Bochy, the Giants could use Belt as a defensive replacement at first base.
[NOTES: Belt progressing, Morse questionable]
Belt will travel with the team to Arizona after Sunday’s game, where he could see pitching in the instructional league as well. Given that he already fractured his thumb once when hit by a pitch, though, the Giants could prefer to have him face pitchers with a bit more control.
Belt said he scored a 280 and 300 in the visual acuity tests. The average score for a young man in the military is 200, he claimed. (He’d probably claim he can swim faster than your average Navy cadet, too.)
Belt credited the vision exercises with making a huge difference. Once he was able to focus on moving objects, the nausea and other symptoms subsided. And now that he doesn’t have to stick to a hard-and-fast rule to sleep eight hours a night, he can take on daddy duty when his newborn son wakes up crying.
That’s a whole different kind of challenging, competitive environment.
Michael Morse is taking dry swings but still is listed somewhere between doubtful and questionable to be available for any portion of this weekend’s three-game series with the Dodgers. Morse had a cortisone injection in his left lower oblique/hip last week.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Joaquin Arias’ hot bat earned him the start at first base against lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. That means Brandon Crawford, who is 1 for 12 against Ryu, starts at shortstop.
Bochy wanted to keep catcher Buster Posey working with Madison Bumgarner. The manager plans to wait until Sunday – a day game after a night game – to play Posey at first base against left-hander Clayton Kershaw. That way, he’ll have Andrew Susac receiving Yusmeiro Petit. The last time that tandem worked together, Petit threw an 84-pitch complete game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.