Melky returns to lineup for opener; Pagan sits

Melky returns to lineup for opener; Pagan sits

Melky returns to lineup for opener; Pagan sits
SAN FRANCISCO -- Melky Cabrera returned to the Giants' lineup for Tuesday's opener against the Astros, while Angel Pagan got a day off.

Cabrera was back in action after sitting out the three-game series with the Rangers over the weekend after straining his right hamstring last Thursday while stealing second base against the Padres. Bruce Bochy said Cabrera came to the ballpark on Monday's day off to run sprints, which was enough for the Giants' skipper to pencil the outfielder into the No. 3 spot in the lineup and in left field on Tuesday.

"It means a lot to have your No. 3 hitter [back] who is coming off an incredible month," Bochy said. "He really has inspired the lineup in ways that they've really started swinging the bats better."

Bochy said he had been planning on giving Pagan a day off earlier, but Cabrera's injury postponed Pagan's rest day.

"I was hoping to give him Sunday off, so I would give him Sunday and Monday off, but with Melky not being able to play and [Pagan] was good to go on Sunday -- so that would give us Tuesday off with Angel, now that Melky can play," Bochy said.

Nate Schierholtz got the start in right field, with Gregor Blanco shifting over to center.

Pagan had been playing through muscular pain around his stomach, which Bochy said was minor and improving.

"He's got a little issue going there, but it's doing well," Bochy said. "He says he feels great, but I'd already set the lineup up and had Angel off today to give him two days."

"It's calmed down," Bochy added. "He's been playing with it for a while. He's fine, and we're hoping to give him the couple days so it'll calm down even more."