Ross' activation close; Belt on hot seat?

Ross' activation close; Belt on hot seat?

Ross' activation close; Belt on hot seat?
DENVER -- Barring a physical setback, right fielder Cody Ross likely will rejoin the Giants here Tuesday and might even be activated from the 15-day disabled list, manager Bruce Bochy indicated Monday.

Bochy also dropped broad hints that rookie Brandon Belt, San Francisco's Opening Day first baseman, will be optioned to Triple-A Fresno to clear roster room for Ross.

Bochy said that Ross was expected to conclude his injury rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Fresno by playing nine innings Monday at Las Vegas. So far, Ross has experienced no problems with the right calf he strained in a March 23 exhibition game against the Los Angeles Angels.

"I know the guys will be glad to have him back around the clubhouse," Bochy said.

To say nothing of the lineup. Whenever Ross returns, Aubrey Huff, who has started 13 games in right field, will reclaim his spot as the everyday first baseman. Belt, who entered Monday hitting .200 with a .280 slugging percentage, would have nothing to gain by languishing on the bench.

Bochy insisted that moving back to Triple-A would not impede Belt's progress.

"He's ahead of schedule," Bochy said of Belt, who turns 23 on Wednesday. "... I do think, given time, this kid will figure it out."

Reflecting his oft-praised plate discipline, Belt began Monday with a team-high eight walks. But, as Bochy said, "it's all about putting the good part of the bat on the ball."

Asked if Belt occasionally might lack aggressiveness at the plate, Bochy noted that the Texan sometimes had been late with his swing.

"That probably tells you you're not quite aggressive enough," Bochy said.