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04/19/11 2:03 AM ET

Ross' activation close; Belt on hot seat?

DENVER -- Barring a physical setback, right fielder Cody Ross likely will rejoin the Giants here Tuesday and might even be activated from the 15-day disabled list, manager Bruce Bochy indicated Monday.

Bochy also dropped broad hints that rookie Brandon Belt, San Francisco's Opening Day first baseman, will be optioned to Triple-A Fresno to clear roster room for Ross.

Bochy said that Ross was expected to conclude his injury rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Fresno by playing nine innings Monday at Las Vegas. So far, Ross has experienced no problems with the right calf he strained in a March 23 exhibition game against the Los Angeles Angels.

"I know the guys will be glad to have him back around the clubhouse," Bochy said.

To say nothing of the lineup. Whenever Ross returns, Aubrey Huff, who has started 13 games in right field, will reclaim his spot as the everyday first baseman. Belt, who entered Monday hitting .200 with a .280 slugging percentage, would have nothing to gain by languishing on the bench.

Bochy insisted that moving back to Triple-A would not impede Belt's progress.

"He's ahead of schedule," Bochy said of Belt, who turns 23 on Wednesday. "... I do think, given time, this kid will figure it out."

Reflecting his oft-praised plate discipline, Belt began Monday with a team-high eight walks. But, as Bochy said, "it's all about putting the good part of the bat on the ball."

Asked if Belt occasionally might lack aggressiveness at the plate, Bochy noted that the Texan sometimes had been late with his swing.

"That probably tells you you're not quite aggressive enough," Bochy said.

Zito could be out a month with sprained foot

DENVER -- Though X-rays taken Monday of Barry Zito's sprained right foot were negative, manager Bruce Bochy indicated that the left-hander could be sidelined for approximately a month.

"He's going to be in a [walking] boot for two weeks," Bochy said.

That will span the duration of Zito's minimum 15-day stay on the disabled list. Zito won't resume pitching immediately, even if he avoids physical setbacks, because he must regain arm strength and devote time to physical conditioning once the boot is removed.

Zito, who hurt himself Saturday at Arizona, has made 356 Major League starts since 2000 without missing one due to injury. Ryan Vogelsong, who replaced Zito on the pitching staff, worked 1 1/3 innings of shutout relief in San Francisco's 8-1 victory over Colorado on Monday night. Bochy said that he'll decide Tuesday whether Vogelsong will still start Friday against Atlanta. Thursday's scheduled off-day would enable the Giants to start Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez on their regular four days' rest.

Schierholtz brings slick glove, big bat to start

DENVER -- Though Nate Schierholtz's upper-deck home run in Monday night's first inning demonstrated his power, manager Bruce Bochy made his choice of right fielders with defense in mind.

"This is a big right field here," Bochy said before Schierholtz received his second start of the season in the Giants' series opener at Coors Field.

It wasn't big enough to hold the drive Schierholtz hit when he connected with a 1-1 pitch from Colorado's Esmil Rogers and deposited it into the upper deck's front row for his first home run of the season. It was the 31st upper-deck homer in Coors Field history and the third by a Giant. Barry Bonds hit the others.

Combined with Pat Burrell's preceding three-run homer, it marked the second straight game in which the Giants hit back-to-back homers. Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval accomplished the feat in Sunday's sixth inning at Arizona.

Pitcher Sanchez helping himself at plate

DENVER -- Already this season, Jonathan Sanchez has a double to go with the triple he hit in last year's regular-season finale. This is no coincidence, said Sanchez, who said that he has committed extra time to improving his hitting.

"I'm trying to work on going up the middle," said Sanchez, who's scheduled to start Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies.

Madison Bumgarner is acknowledged as San Francisco's best-hitting pitcher, while Tim Lincecum is considered to be the best bunter. But Sanchez, who owns a .108 lifetime batting average, has the last two extra-base hits.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.