SAN FRANCISCO -- Melky Cabrera's torrid hitting since his arrival in the heart of the San Francisco order has been reminding his manager of a former teammate.
"He reminds me of a good player I've played with, and his name is Tony Gwynn," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's how well he's played, and that's a compliment. We're talking about one of the greatest players of the game."
After being acquired in the offseason in a trade with the Kansas City Royals, Cabrera has been more than a welcome addition to the Giants lineup. Entering Monday's game, Cabrera was hitting .426 in May with three home runs and 17 RBIs, and his .369 average ranked second in the National League.
Bochy noted Cabrera's ability to hit to all fields and run the bases in his comparison to Gwynn, who teamed with Bochy on the San Diego Padres from 1983 to '87.
"I knew [Cabrera] was a pretty good all-around player, a switch-hitter who could play anywhere in the outfield," Bochy said. "But on offense, he's better than I even thought. That's how good he has played."
Memorial Day touches hearts of Giants
SAN FRANCISCO -- Monday's ceremonial first pitch before the Giants faced the D-backs was thrown by Corporal Nick Kimmel, a 21-year-old triple amputee who had multiple scholarship offers to play baseball, but joined the Marines instead. Kimmel lost both his legs and an arm when he stepped on an explosive device in 2011 while serving in Afghanistan.
To commemorate Memorial Day, the Giants also had a flyover before the game, as well as donning specialized hats that featured a camouflage-colored logo.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy grew up in a military family, being born in France where his father was stationed as a U.S. Army officer, making Monday's holiday that much more significant.
"Growing up on a base, it's obviously got deep meaning," Bochy said. "I'll be thinking about my father, who is no longer living, and all those who have served and fallen while protecting our country."
Supporting the troops has been a special cause for Giants pitcher Barry Zito, who started Monday's game against Arizona. Zito created the charity Strikeouts for Troops.
"It's going to get emotional out there, I'm sure, for [Zito]," Bochy said.
Giants looking forward to Sandoval's return
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Pablo Sandoval continues to make strides toward returning from a fractured left hamate bone, and that the team may know more by the end of Monday about when the third baseman can rejoin the lineup.
"Our doctors will take a look at him today, and I can give you a better answer on what the target date would be for him to come back," Bochy said before Monday's game. "Hopefully it's a couple weeks."
Sandoval was back with the team after staying in Arizona during the team's recent week-long road trip. The third baseman underwent surgery May 4 and was expected to miss four to six weeks. Sandoval missed approximately 6 1/2 weeks last season when he broke his right hamate bone.
Sandoval took some ground balls before Monday's game against the D-backs, and Bochy said he has been taking soft toss swings from the left side of the plate and dry swings from the right, and that he would do a rehab assignment before returning to the Giants.
"We're encouraged with where he's at," Bochy said. "We need him back, so hopefully we'll get some good news when he gets looked at."
Jay Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.