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."