Some media outlets are reporting it as a broken thumb, as Belt is certainly out for the six remaining games of the regular season — but he's possibly out for the playoffs, too.
Your San Francisco Giants’ season has been unexpectedly spectacular, as their sterling 102-54 record represents the team’s best winning percentage since 1913. The hated and superstar-stacked LA Dodgers have kept up, though, currently just two games behind in the division, so the Giants “magic number” for winning the division right now stands at five. They host the Diamondbacks this evening, but they will be a little short-handed. Or rather, fractured-handed, as the team's leading home run hitter Brandon Belt has been diagnosed with a fractured thumb, according to the Chronicle.
Here is the hit by pitch that resulted in a fractured thumb for Brandon Belt pic.twitter.com/V5wwWUHi2l— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) September 28, 2021
He suffered the injury Sunday afternoon while attempting to bunt in a 6-2 win over the Rockies. The incident is seen above, if you didn’t watch the game or were off at Folsom Street Fair.
Brandon Belt had an X-ray today that revealed a fracture in his left thumb— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) September 28, 2021
Some national media outlets like ESPN are even reporting it as a broken thumb, but this may be inaccurate. The broken thumb claim is also reported by CBS Sports, but their report is just based on the tweet above from The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly, which clearly states the thumb is sprained.
And we do hope this is merely a sprain. Belt leads the team in home runs with 29, and heck, has the second-most home runs in the major leagues since the beginning of August. He has deemed himself the team’s unofficial “captain,” as seen in the highly homoerotic photo above. (NOTE: This is all an elaborate inside joke. The Giants do not have an official team captain, and the photo is an annual hazing stunt where they make the rookies pose in an embarrassing photo.)
Oracle Park already selling a “Captain Belt” T-shirt.— Peter Hartlaub (@peterhartlaub) September 19, 2021
Man, never underestimate Larry Baer’s ability to part all of us from our money. pic.twitter.com/Ifos7PZpdN
Our concern is of course with Belt’s health, but this is a fractured thumb, not a concussion or a heart problem or COVID-19. He’s going to heal up just fine, and he’s typically a fast healer. (We thought Belt’s season was over with a knee injury in June, but he was back the next month). The million-dollar question is when he can return to the lineup, and no timetable has been announced there. Belt could be back by the playoffs, or he could miss the playoffs entirely. And while the team has a two-game division lead, that’s pretty tenuous with six games left.
Belt is surely out for those six games. And remember, if the Giants and Dodgers finish the season tied, they’ll play a one-game playoff on Monday, October 4 to determine the division winner. Whomever is relegated to the Wild Card has to win a “do or die” one-game playoff on Wednesday, October 6, and the National League Division Series is slated to begin Friday, October 8.
So if all goes well, Belt could have the opportunity to rest until October 8, and could feasibly return fully healed then. Or the Giants could find themselves already eliminated by October 8, despite the historic season. Whether they play in the NLDS next Friday depends on whether they can live up to this year’s designated #ResilientSF hashtag.
Image: WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 04: Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants runs the bases after hitting a solo home run to right field in the eighteenth inning against Tanner Roark #57 of the Washington Nationals during Game Two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)