SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Brandon Belt trimmed his beard in anticipation of a salary arbitration hearing. Now he can let his hair down.
A relieved Belt rejoined the Giants on Thursday, one day after missing the club's first full-squad workout to return from St. Petersburg. Belt arrived there Tuesday night and was spared the anxiety of a hearing when he and the club agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million contract.
It was an instance of delayed gratification for the first baseman, in a sense. A star pitcher at Hudson High School in Lufkin, Texas, Belt was led to believe that the Chicago Cubs would draft him and pay him a seven-figure signing bonus. But the Cubs passed on Belt and Boston selected him in the 11th round, prompting him to attend college.
So when Belt's agent, J.D. Smart, called him in his hotel room to inform him of the agreement, the financial windfall held extra significance. Asked whether there was anything "magical" about the salary figure, Belt said, "It was magical to me. I've been waiting on a phone call like that since I was in high school. It's a pretty special moment for me."
Belt's next contract could be a multi-year deal, a possibility Giants general manager Brian Sabean has raised. Serious negotiations have not yet begun, but Belt would welcome this development.
"I think anybody would be open to a long-term extension, especially with this organization," he said. "It's a first-class organization."