SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday that he remains optimistic that Pablo Sandoval will be healthy enough to return from the disabled list when he is eligible on Aug. 9, saying that the All-Star third baseman is "real close" to running on his strained left hamstring.

"He's coming around," Bochy said. "I'm more and more encouraged with Pablo. I think possibly he'll be ready when his time is up. He was out here taking some swings yesterday during batting practice, and he's doing more and more in the training room. I like the progress he's making."

Sandoval injured his hamstring while stretching for a double play while playing first base against the Padres on July 24, and Bochy said he is uncommitted on whether Sandoval will play first base again when he returns.

"Not sure, to be honest," Bochy said. "We'll see how things are going when he's back. Ideally, you'd like to keep him at third and not have that risk again."

Loux activated from disabled list

SAN FRANCISCO -- By activating right-hander Shane Loux from the disabled list and optioning down outfielder Justin Christian to Triple-A Fresno, the Giants are now going with 13 pitchers and 12 position players.

"If you look at the lineup, I'm not going to pinch-hit for a lot of these guys," manager Bruce Bochy said.

The move came after the bullpen combined for 78 pitches in Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Mets, with four pitchers combining for four innings in relief of starter Matt Cain.

"We wanted to add an arm," Bochy said. "We had to go through our bullpen last night, and with the games coming up in Colorado, we know that can be taxing on our pitching staff."

Loux had been on the DL since June 26 with a neck strain, and Brad Penny's contract was purchased from Fresno then to take his role as the primary middle reliever.

"Shane will help out in the middle relief role," Bochy said. "You can really use him in any role. We're going to need some help after a game like yeseterday. At the same time, it helps the other pitchers when you have another pitcher to help out."

Worth noting

• Emmanuel Burriss cleared waivers and will be headed to Triple-A Fresno, Bochy said before Thursday's game. Burriss was designated for assignment on July 28 after the Giants acquired Marco Scutaro.

"It's good for us because we can keep him," Bochy said. "He's a player that we know, he's spent time with us. He can help us if we need him to."

• Hunter Pence batted in the cleanup spot with Buster Posey getting a day off on Thursday. Heading into the game, Pence has batted .254 in 73 career games at that spot, with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs.