Yaz back in playoff-chasing Giants' lineup at the perfect time originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
On the biggest day of their season, the Giants got their most valuable player back in the lineup.
Mike Yastrzemski was cleared to return Friday, and he will hit leadoff and start in right field in the first game of a doubleheader with the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park. Yastrzemski hasn't started since last Thursday because of a mild right calf strain, but he pinch-hit in the ninth inning in Thursday's finale against the Colorado Rockies, flying out to center field.
Yastrzemski has made steady progress over the past week and came out of Thursday's appearance feeling good.
"It wasn't an ideal situation to go down in the time frame that I did, so I wanted to get back as soon as possible, but at the same time be smart about it, because I want to be able to play a few more weeks, not a few more days," Yastrzemski said.
Yastrzemski has spent the last week doing strength work on the calf and ran the bases before Thursday's game, passing that final test. He said running in the game is going to be "situational," meaning he'll take care of the calf on plays like pop-ups and grounders that will result in likely outs, but will let it loose when he has to.
"When it comes down to game-changing plays, I'm going to just have to give everything in the tank right now," he said.
Manager Gabe Kapler said his hope is that Yastrzemski is available in some form for the second game Friday, but the staff needs to wait and see how he comes out of his first start in over a week.
"Any time a player is coming back from injury, you're going to be a little concerned and stay concerned until he comes out of the game healthy," Kapler said.