Giants must break free the Baby Giraffe

Giants fans fell in love with the Baby Giraffe last season.

But if Bruce Bochy sticks to his plan from the beginning of spring training, those same fans may not see as much of Brandon Belt as they’d like to.

Bochy said that his likely outfield would consist of Melky Cabrera and Nate Schierholtz at the outfield corners, with recently-acquired Angel Pagan as the everyday center fielder and leadoff man.

Unfortunately for Bochy, his declaration was a bit premature, as Pagan is laboring through a miserable spring, hitting just .179 (10-for-56) in 16 games. He’s 1-for-26 over the last seven games.

Fortunately for Bochy, he left himself some wiggle room. When asked about Pagan manning center and batting leadoff back in late February, the Giants manager told MLB.com: “That’s our thinking right now.”

Now, Bochy isn’t so sure about Pagan’s role.

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On the other hand, Brandon Belt has had a strong spring. Most would assume he has a roster spot locked up, but some aren’t so sure.

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CBS Sports writer Jon Heyman believes Belt has a slightly better than 50-50 chance of making the Opening Day roster.

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For a team that finished dead last in runs last season, it’s probably not a good idea to get off to a slow start.

With the way Belt is playing, he needs to be in the Opening Day lineup. Based on the massive hole he is in, Pagan doesn’t. The Giants need all the hot bats in the lineup.

If the Giants are smart, they’ll abandon their plan for Pagan to free Belt from the uncertainty he faces everyday not knowing where he’ll be the next day.

Bench, trade or cut Pagan, move Cabrera to center and insert Belt in left field and leave him there. Let him feel comfortable for once. Allow him to not worry about whether he’ll be starting for the Giants or be on a bus to Fresno.