Waiting on pitches paying off for Belt

Waiting on pitches paying off for Belt

MILWAUKEE -- Brandon Belt wasn't consciously trying to conquer the defensive overshift he always faces when he lined an opposite-field run-scoring single to left in Monday's season opener against the Brewers. But Belt, who's regularly played to pull pitches to right field, pointed out that this hit reflected the approach he's trying to maintain at the plate.

By waiting as long as possible before unleashing his swing -- "staying on" the ball, in the game's parlance -- Belt reasoned that he's improving his odds of getting a hit.

"That's the thing about staying on the baseball," Belt said on Tuesday. "You can still get hits if you don't hit the ball hard."

Belt pointed out that by waiting on pitches, he'll inevitably reach the opposite field on occasion.

"I'll take those hits all day," he said. "Then when you're 'on time,' you can really crush the ball."

Some hitters might theorize that trying to hit pitches into the wide-open spaces where defenders aren't playing is the best way to beat a shift. Belt believes that simply making solid contact -- which, he thinks, he'll do more often by waiting on the ball -- is a better alternative.

Staying on the ball, he concluded, "allows me to hit more line drives. For me, that's the biggest way you beat a shift."

Worth noting
• Manager Bruce Bochy said on Tuesday that there's a "good chance" of catcher Buster Posey, who's recovering from the flu, getting a day off on Wednesday when the Giants wrap up the series against the Brewers. It's a day game following a night game, when regulars often receive a rest. Trevor Brown would fill in for Posey. Bochy added that he might try to include another reserve, utility infielder Ehire Adrianza, in the lineup.

• The Giants have reached agreement on a four-year extension to their Player Development Contract with their high-Class A California League affiliate, the San Jose Giants. The deal will maintain the tie between San Jose and San Francisco through the 2020 season.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.