Sandoval had been sidelined since fracturing a bone in his left wrist on May 2 and having surgery to have the bone removed. He started at third base Saturday and batted No. 3 in the lineup, getting an ovation from the fans in his first inning at-bat.
"When you have fans supporting you like that, it's exciting for me," Sandoval said.
After three straight popups, Sandoval smacked a ball up the middle for a single in the seventh inning, pumping his first as he approached first base.
"He was a little anxious there at the plate early," manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's usually the case when a guy comes back: He's a little antsy, a little anxious."
Sandoval's return to the Giants lineup also means that Bochy is satisfied with the third baseman's conditioning -- for now.
"He's worked hard and he's getting it done, but that has to be consistent," Bochy said before Saturday's game. "That can't be for three, four days or a week. It's got to be for a season. That's what he needs to do and that's what we want to see."
Sandoval has had issues with his weight for most of his career, culminating in a 2010 season in which he batted .268 -- 62 points lower than his .330 average in '09.
He lost a reported 38 pounds before the 2011 season and was an All-Star selection for the first time, but has again struggled with his conditioning, especially as he was rehabbing his injured wrist.
"There comes a time when you don't want to hear it," Bochy said. "You need action. That's got to happen now."
Bochy's concerns were heard loud and clear by Sandoval, who reiterated his respect for Bochy as a manager after Saturday's game.
"That's what I need to do, and I need work hard to get in shape," Sandoval said.
The biggest concern with his conditioning is in regard to his ability to play third base, and Bochy said moving Sandoval to first base is not in the Giants' best interest.
"We'll consider it, but we have enough first basemen right now," Bochy said. "Right now, he's more important to us at third base."
Sandoval returns to a Giants lineup that is in need of more power hitting, especially with outfielder Melky Cabrera currently sidelined with a sore right hamstring.
"It's good to have Pablo back," Bochy said before Saturday's game. "He was swinging the bat well before he got hurt, and he's another big bat in the lineup. It's added power, which we've been lacking. Not just home runs, but doubles."