Outlook: Belt enters 2014 with significant potential

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."

Adrianza surprises in Giants' first live BP

SF@NYY: Adrianza goes deep with first career homer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy used a simple standard to judge Thursday's beginning of live batting practice, with genuine hitters facing genuine pitchers.

Nobody was injured.

"It does tell me that guys weren't overamped and were ready to do well," Bochy said. "Usually you get a couple of guys hurt."

Ehire Adrianza provided one of the session's highlights. Competing for a backup infielder's job, he startled onlookers by homering off Yusmeiro Petit. Adrianza has sparkled defensively at shortstop during eight years in the Giants' farm system, but he'll have to gain competence at second and third base to win a job.

"It's no problem for me to play second," said Adrianza, who has taken ground balls there during the early days of workouts. He said he'll soon begin practicing at third.

Adrianza has no Minor League options remaining, so he'd be exposed on waivers if the Giants attempted to return him to Triple-A. He addressed this situation the way most players do.

"I can't control that," he said. "The only thing I can control is to play baseball."

Rookie left-hander Edwin Escobar yielded a pair of long drives to Michael Morse, including a home run, but looked mostly smooth. Escobar is the most experienced among the Giants' legion of pitching prospects and thus has the best chance of arriving in San Francisco first.

"He has a great changeup, he keeps the ball down and he works both sides of the plate really well," Morse said.

Bochy was enthused about left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, whose 2013 season included a pulled right side, a strained left groin and a sports hernia. Affeldt threw pain-free, prompting Bochy to say, "It was a good day for him."

Affeldt, who pitched in pain throughout 2013, felt enthused.

"If I was flying open [with his front shoulder] or not flying open, it didn't matter," he said. "It felt free and easy and I felt strong."