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Belt hoping to settle contract before hearing

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SAN FRANCISCO -- First baseman Brandon Belt sounded optimistic Friday about avoiding a salary arbitration hearing with Giants management.

"That's what most people want to do," said Belt, who declined to reveal the date of the courtroom showdown if one is necessary. Arbitration hearings are scheduled to be held between Tuesday and Feb. 21.

Through the arbitration filing process, Belt requested a one-year, $3.6 million contract. The Giants countered with $2.05 million. Belt earned $531,500 last year while batting .289 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs.

Arbitration hearings have been said to be unpleasant experiences for players, who must listen to representatives for the ballclub belittle their performance in an effort to win the arbitrators' ruling.

"I know what I wasn't good at," Belt said. "So if I have to go in there, it's not going to hurt my feelings any."

The Giants haven't gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when catcher A.J. Pierzynski won a $3.5 million salary.

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

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