© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

05/29/10 7:20 PM ET

Giants sign Burrell to Minor League deal

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants signed Pat Burrell to a Minor League contract Saturday, sending the 33-year-old outfielder to Triple-A Fresno for an evaluation period.

Burrell was to join Fresno on Saturday in Salt Lake City and Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Burrell will get at-bats as an outfielder and designated hitter.

"The thought of signing him to help us off the bench, give us a right-handed bat, some power, a good threat coming off the bench and help us late in games and maybe play against certain pitchers," Bochy said. "Right now he needs some at-bats in the Minor Leagues, and we'll see where he's at in the next 10 days or so."

Burrell, an alumnus of San Jose's Bellarmine Prep, was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay on May 22 after beginning the season hitting .202 with two home runs and 13 RBIs in 24 games, all as designated hitter.

He is a .253 lifetime hitter with 267 career home runs and 904 RBIs.

Patient Sandoval feels renewed

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval came into Friday's series opener against Arizona looking for a fresh start.

Entering the game hitting just .121 in the month of May and in the midst of a 124 at-bat homerless drought dating back to April 21, Sandoval told himself Friday was the start of a new season.

And what a season opener it was.

Sandoval went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and three RBIs in the Giants' 5-0 victory over the D-backs.

"That's what I put in my mind [Friday]," said Sandoval, who struck out on three pitches in his first at-bat. "In my first at-bat, I didn't have any patience at home plate; I needed to have more patience. I had to wait for my pitch and that's what I did [Friday]."

In batting practice, Sandoval told starting pitcher Matt Cain -- who earned the complete-game win, allowing one hit and striking out a season-high nine -- he would go deep. Sandoval promised Cain the duo would regain their co-dominance from a season ago, when Sandoval homered in nine of Cain's 33 starts.

"During BP he was joking around, saying, 'We're getting back,' and it looks like he's got his swing back," Cain said. "He's looking good at the plate, and it's nice to see."

Giants to honor Zito's military charity

SAN FRANCISCO -- Five years ago, Barry Zito had a vision to blend America's national pastime with America's armed forces.

On Monday, when the Giants celebrate the fifth anniversary of the left-hander's Strikeouts for Troops -- a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing "comforts of home" for wounded troops -- in a pregame ceremony, Zito's vision will have grown into an organization that has raised nearly $2 million for U.S. military men and women.

The ceremony begins at 12:30 p.m. PT before the Giants and Rockies open a three-game series. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m.

"The fact that we've raised as much money as we have, near the $2 million mark, is great," Zito said. "It's something that we want to keep growing slowly over the years and we always want to recruit new guys and let more guys know about it."

So far, more than 70 players have joined Zito's cause, including stars such as CC Sabathia, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez, as well as San Francisco teammates Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Brian Wilson.

Comcast SportsNet Bay Area will have a special Memorial Day broadcast with coverage of the ceremony, as well as the airing of the national anthem and in-game vignettes of Giants and other Major League players who served in the military.

Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.