What Belt's latest knee injury means for Giants this week

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SAN FRANCISCO -- When Gabe Kapler addressed reporters on Sunday morning, he had not yet seen Brandon Belt. Kapler knew Belt wouldn't be in his lineup for the finale against the San Diego Padres, but there wasn't too much concern.

"He's day-to-day," Kapler said in the morning. "Nothing much to report on that front."

In the first inning, there was. The Giants made a late roster move, announcing that just before first pitch they had put Belt on the 10-day Injured List with right knee inflammation. Infielder Kevin Padlo was recalled from Triple-A. 

Following a 10-1 loss to the Padres, Belt said he had his knee drained of fluids for the second time in three days and also received a cortisone shot. He's hopeful he can return when eligible next Sunday in Cincinnati. 

"It's been tough to get in a rhythm," Belt said. "That's why I want to get this taken care of."

Belt has had chronic knee issues in recent years and in 2018 he had season-ending surgery, with his meniscus getting cleaned up for the second time in four years and doctors also doing a microfracture procedure to help repair cartilage that had been damaged earlier that season. Belt's knee buckled when he was running the bases last June against the Angels and he initially feared he needed another procedure. Ultimately he was able to return after a little more than a month and was the Giants' best hitter until a finger fracture late in September. 

This season, the knee issues have lingered. Belt had it drained in the spring and said it flared up again this week. There was no one play he could pinpoint as the stresser. 

"It showed up in Colorado," he said. "It started to swell and get sore."

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Belt is the only one of Gabe Kapler's hitters who is in the heart of the lineup every day no matter the matchup. Without him for at least the next five games, the Giants will rely on Darin Ruf and Wilmer Flores at first base. Padlo, who was up earlier this year, gives them additional depth on the corners.

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