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06/06/08 8:30 PM ET

Durham makes return to Giants lineup

Veteran infielder had been bothered by left calf strain

WASHINGTON -- Ray Durham was back in the starting lineup for Friday's series opener against the Nationals after a left calf strain limited him to pinch-hitting duties on Wednesday.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy originally kept the second baseman out of Friday's starting lineup, but said that Durham came to him after seeing that and said he could play -- and the skipper inserted him.

"I didn't put him in there, and he came in and said he felt great and feels nothing in the calf," Bochy said. "So he's in there."

Bochy originally had Travis Denker playing second base and batting seventh with John Bowker at first base and hitting sixth, but the manager dropped Durham into the sixth spot and moved Bowker back to seventh.

Durham hit a double to right in his first at-bat in the second inning on Friday and hit an RBI single in the third inning.

Durham didn't start in the Giants' last game, a 5-3 loss to the Mets on Wednesday, but he grounded out as a pinch-hitter. He's played in the team's most recent 21 games, starting 16 of them.

In addition, he's been on a good roll of late. Durham is hitting .321 over the last 38 games with 15 RBIs. He's got a .286 average for the season, with two homers and 16 RBIs.

Also in lineup news, Bochy put Jose Castillo back in the No. 2 spot again. The skipper said the right-handed-hitting third baseman gives the lineup some order.

"I think, more than anything, it just balances out the lineup," Bochy said.

Bochy was asked about putting Omar Vizquel there, but he put the shortstop in the eighth spot instead. The veteran has been mired in a long slump in recent days that dropped his average to just .197 with no homers and six RBIs heading into Friday's game.

Vizquel has gone just 5-for-53 in his last 15 games (.094), and Bochy thought the No. 8 spot was better.

"Right now, I think Omar's better suited to where he's at," Bochy said.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.