New mindset gives Belt a boost

New mindset gives Belt a boost

OAKLAND -- The Baby Giraffe is growing up and he's poised to take the next step in his career. Brandon Belt, who batted .391 during a stellar Spring Training, is ready to put his disappointing 2011 rookie season behind him.

Belt was in the starting lineup at first base for the fourth straight contest Monday, perhaps a sign he's won the everyday job over Aubrey Huff and Brett Pill. As he looks back on his .225 batting average from a year ago, Belt concedes his struggles were of the mental sort.

"It was nearly 100 percent mental," Belt said. "For me, I think getting in the right mindset is what's going to make the biggest difference. I think I did a lot better job with that this spring than I did last year."

The 24-year-old slugger said he didn't do anything different this offseason and that he focused on getting back to his usual approach at the plate.

"I have a lot more confidence this year," Belt said. "I know a lot more about what to expect coming into this year so there's not going to be too many surprises. I just want to go out there and play my game and see what happens."