PHOENIX -- Eugenio Velez probably knew what was up when he was called into Giants manager Bruce Bochy's office Wednesday night at Chase Field prior to the game against the D-backs.

The outfielder-infielder was told by Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean that he had been optioned to Triple-A Fresno to make room on the 25-man roster for second baseman Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez came off the 15-disabled list after recovering from extensive surgery on his left shoulder.

When Velez emerged from behind the closed door, there were hugs all the way around. He batted .196 with two homers and eight RBIs in 19 games spread over two stints with the Giants.

"He was a little disappointed as they usually are," Bochy said. "But he understood. I think he knew that he was here for the short term until Freddy was ready. Now he'll go down and continue to play so he's ready if something else happens."

Matt Downs, whom Sanchez replaced at second base, is hitting .269 with a homer and six RBIs, including the two-run, 12th-inning double that put the Giants ahead for good in a 7-6 win over the Padres in San Diego on Tuesday night. Bochy said Downs will become a valuable utility player if Sanchez remains healthy.

"We'll have Downsie take some ground balls at third," Bochy said. "He'll take some fly balls in the outfield. We'll move him around. The way he's swinging we'll use him as a right-handed pinch-hitter coming off the bench."

F. Sanchez happy to be back in action

PHOENIX -- For the first time this season Wednesday night at Chase Field, the Giants had Freddy Sanchez back in the lineup, batting third and playing second base. Sanchez is fully recovered from extensive offseason surgery on his left shoulder.

In a corresponding move as Sanchez came off the 15-day disabled list, the Giants optioned outfielder-infielder Eugenio Velez to Triple-A Fresno. The move also sent second baseman Matt Downs to the bench.

Sanchez said he was thrilled to be back.

"Oh, obviously," Sanchez said hours before the Giants took on the National League West rival D-backs. "Anytime you get hurt or you're away from the game, you want to get back to your teammates as soon as possible. You also want to be able to get back and help the guys. I want to do what I can to help these guys win."

Sanchez had surgery to repair the labrum and the A/C joint and tighten the shoulder ligament this past Dec. 23 in San Francisco. Doctors told him he'd be out about six months, so he beat that prognosis by just about 30 days.

Sanchez said he flew in from Oklahoma City on Wednesday to get here in time for the game.

"The good news for me is that I'm back," Sanchez said. "It's been tough watching every game on TV, knowing that these guys are going to work every day and I wasn't there with them. I'm going to do what I can."

Huff gets a break from starting lineup

PHOENIX -- Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff was given the night off from another start Wednesday at Chase Field against the D-backs. Travis Ishikawa was in the starting lineup, batting eighth.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said there was nothing physically wrong with Huff, who is hitting .275 with four homers and 18 RBIs. He just needed a blow.

"He's just getting a day," Bochy said. "He hasn't had a break in a while. Ishi hasn't had a start in a while. With the extra-inning game Tuesday night at San Diego], I just told Huff he was getting a day off today."

Huff has played in all of the Giants' first 38 games, including starts in the last eight in a row. He was 1-for-6 in the Giants' 7-6, 12-inning victory at PETCO Park.