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06/09/12 2:16 AM ET

Giants to activate Sandoval from DL

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants announced after Friday's 5-0 loss to the Rangers that Pablo Sandoval will return from the disabled list in time for Saturday's game, and first baseman Brett Pill will be optioned to Triple-A Fresno in order to make room for the third baseman.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy had initially said Friday afternoon that Sandoval was expected to return after the weekend series against the Rangers, but Sandoval's two-homer performance for Fresno on Friday night coupled with Melky Cabrera's sore hamstring prompted the move.

"He's swinging well, so we think he's ready," Bochy said. "With Melky out, sure, we're shorthanded. We think [Sandoval's] ready, and that's why we're making the move."

Bochy had previously said that it was "in Pablo's hands" whether Sandoval would be in good enough shape to play third base, and Bochy said after Friday's game that he was comfortable with the reports he had heard about Sandoval's fielding during his rehab assignment.

"He would not come up here if we didn't think he could play third base," Bochy said. "He's been playing third base and he feels great. The issue was swinging right-handed, and he's already checked that box off."

Sandoval will return for Saturday's game against the Rangers and will start at third base after a week-long rehab assignment that had stops at Class A San Jose and Fresno.

"Having Pablo back in the lineup is going to be a boost to us, both on the field and off," pitcher Barry Zito said. "Pablo is a sparkplug for us."

The Giants have gone 21-14 since Sandoval fractured a bone in his left wrist on May 2, but the Giants will readily welcome him back to the lineup. Sandoval had been leading the team with five home runs, 15 RBIs and 16 runs scored before being sidelined. The Giants were blanked Friday by the Rangers' Matt Harrison, who threw a five-hit complete game.

"He brings a lot of energy," outfielder Gregor Blanco said of Sandoval. "He brings happiness, he's really wild -- everyone knows that. He's a little crazy, but that's great. I think we need guys like him [to] bring energy to the team. He's a leader on this team."

Melky sits to rest ailing hamstring

SAN FRANCISCO -- Melky Cabrera was out of the starting lineup for Friday's game against the Texas Rangers with a sore right hamstring and is day to day, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said before the game.

Nate Schierholtz started in right field, with Gregor Blanco sliding over to take Cabrera's spot in left field, and center fielder Angel Pagan batted No. 3 in the lineup.

Cabrera injured his hamstring during Thursday's 8-3 win against the Padres while stealing second base in the seventh inning, and he left the game an inning later.

"We took him out just to be cautious there," Bochy said Friday. "It's still a little bit sore so Nate gets the start today. We'll check on him tomorrow and hopefully he'll be good to go tomorrow.

"We would like to stay away from him, but if we needed him to, I think he could probably pinch-hit," Bochy added. "But we'll check on him during the game and check with the training staff to see if it's worth the risk."

Buster Posey also had a night off Friday, with Hector Sanchez catching starting pitcher Barry Zito, meaning the Giants were without their two biggest bats in the lineup against Rangers lefty starter Matt Harrison.

"There's still a lot of baseball left," Bochy said. "It's tough not to have both Melky and Buster in there, particularly when a left-hander is going. But you've got to do what's right."

Theriot wielding torrid bat for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Since being activated from the disabled list after an elbow injury, Ryan Theriot has batted .413 (19-for-46) entering Friday's game against the Rangers, including going 8-for-13 at the plate in the recent series against San Diego.

"He's really played outstanding ball after coming off the DL," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Nobody is hitting the ball harder than he is."

Theriot was batting .500 (14-for-28) through seven games in the month of June, with a .563 on-base percentage and a .607 slugging percentage.

His averages could be even higher, too, had some of his several line-drive outs and hard grounders gone through for hits.

"He's getting hard outs, too," Bochy said. "If you look at the percentage of hard-hit balls, he's probably leading our club right now the last 10 days."

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