Span returns from DL with four-hit night

Span returns from DL with four-hit night

SAN FRANCISCO -- After convincing manager Bruce Bochy and the Giants' medical staff that he was healthy enough to cut his rehab assignment in the Minors short, leadoff hitter Denard Span proved it with his first four-hit game of the season in San Francisco's 3-2 loss to the Reds on Thursday night.

Span, who missed more than two weeks with a right shoulder injury he sustained while crashing into the outfield wall at Coors Field in Colorado on April 23, fell a triple short of the cycle in his return to the Giants' lineup. He doubled and homered off Reds starter Bronson Arroyo and singled twice while raising his batting average 59 points.

"It's great to see," Bochy said. "That's what's hard to figure, really. We got [only] two runs and we had such a big night from him."

Span's recovery took a little longer after he suffered a sternoclavicular joint sprain. Span was eligible to come off the DL on May 4, but he suffered a slight setback before being sent out on a rehab assignment.

Span was sent to the club's Spring Training complex for his rehab and was originally scheduled to play three games in the Minors before the veteran outfielder declared himself ready.

"Yesterday after the game they asked me how I felt and I told them I felt good, let's go, strap it on," Span said. "I wasn't out that long. The main thing was just making sure I was physically OK."

Before the game, Bochy had talked optimistically about Span's return to the leadoff spot providing help for San Francisco's offense.

"We're not getting a lot from the leadoff hitter, and I think that's been part of our offensive woes," Bochy said. "He said he felt great and we need him."

Span had not homered since Sept. 24, 2016. His solo blast off Arroyo briefly put the Giants up, 2-1, before the Reds tied it and eventually won on Zack Cozart's RBI double in the eighth.

Prior to the game, the Giants also activated shortstop Brandon Crawford from the disabled list. Crawford, who was sidelined with a right groin strain since April 26, went 1-for-4 with a double in his return.

"It's great to have two of our core guys back," Bochy said. "Any time you get somebody back -- one of your guys, much less two -- I think it does a lot for the confidence of the ballclub. It's nothing against the guys that were replacing them, but they are your guys. It puts guys back into their role that was the plan for them for the year.

"This keeps things in order."

Crawford missed 14 games since injuring himself rounding first base against the Dodgers in late April. San Francisco's Gold Glove shortstop initially went on the bereavement list following the death of his wife's sister then was transferred to the disabled list after returning.

Eduardo Nunez and rookie Christian Arroyo had split time at shortstop while Crawford was out. With Crawford back, Arroyo was at third base Thursday and Nunez was in left.

To make room on the active roster, the Giants placed Conor Gillaspie on the 10-day DL with back spasms and optioned right-hander Reyes Moronta to Double-A Richmond.

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Giants on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.