Blue Jays right-hander Josh Johnson will make his long-awaited return from the disabled list against the Giants at AT&T Park on Tuesday, but another return is likely to get more of the headlines.
That's because outfielder Melky Cabrera will return to San Francisco for the first time since having his 2012 season cut short due to a drug suspension and then signing with Toronto in the offseason.
"[The Giants] treated me really well when I played there and they gave me an opportunity to play every day and I had a great time playing for them," Cabrera said through interpreter Luis Rivera.
Cabrera was asked if he expected boos from the AT&T Park faithful, and he said he wasn't sure.
"I don't worry about that. It's up to the fans, it's nothing I have control of," Cabrera said. "I'm just going to play the game. If they decide to boo, that's fine. If they decide to cheer, that's fine with me, too. But I'm not going to worry about that. I'm just going to focus on the game and try to help my team win."
Cabrera, who was an All-Star and was leading the National League in hits at the time of his suspension, was eligible to be added to the team's postseason roster, but was left off. The Giants won the World Series without him.
"That was their decision," Cabrera said. "I was ready after I was suspended. I went down and got ready just in case they needed me. They didn't need me at the time, they won the championship and I was very happy and glad that they did it with or without me."
Johnson, meanwhile, is hoping the Blue Jays go on to big things with him as one of their aces. Johnson, who has been on the DL since late April with right triceps inflammation, has only made four starts for his new team.
In those outings, the towering right-hander has a 6.86 ERA, although most of that damage came in the shortest start of his career on April 11, when he allowed six earned runs in 1 1/3 innings against the Tigers.
Johnson's return comes at a time when Toronto's rotation is in need of a boost. Of their top six starters entering the season, only Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey have yet to miss a start, and they are the only ones to not find themselves on the disabled list or demoted.
Because of this, the Blue Jays took extra care with Johnson's rehab, making sure that he would return to full health and become a vital addition to the club. Johnson said that made it extra tough to be away from the team.
"Yeah, it always is," Johnson said. "They don't have very many games on in Innisbrook [Fla.], so it was tough to watch some of the games. So, I was on my phone constantly, just checking scores and looking at all of the box scores and the lines and everything. It is tough, but they're playing well, it's nice to see that and hopefully we can get back on track."
The Giants will be looking for revenge after dropping two games to the Blue Jays in May. San Francisco will send two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum to the mound.
Lincecum hasn't been the same pitcher who took home the award as the NL's finest pitcher in 2008-09, but he's shown flashes. In the four starts this season that the 28-year-old has allowed fewer than four runs, he's given up a total of two earned runs, with a 3-0 record and 30 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings.
In Lincecum's other seven starts, he's allowed 35 earned runs in 39 1/3 innings.
The Giants will need the good Lincecum to show up if they hope to get on track after losing six of their past 10 games.
Giants: Lincecum almost a Blue Jay
• Tuesday's game could have looked a lot different if a rumored trade in 2007 came to fruition.
Back in Lincecum's inaugural campaign, there was a long-held belief that the young righty might be headed to Toronto in exchange for what appeared to be an emerging offensive star in Alex Rios.
"It didn't have any great significance," Lincecum said of the persisting rumors. "I didn't read into it too much or think too much about it. For me, it might have been one of those things where it was at the start of my career. ... It was possible that a team could have me, so they could trade me."
Lincecum has gone on to compile an 82-61 record with the Giants, winning the pair of Cy Young Awards while helping San Francisco capture two World Series titles.
"I'm happy it didn't happen," said Lincecum.
• When the Giants' starters deliver a quality outing, they are 15-6, but they are 14-21 when they do not.
• The Giants have struggled with hitting with runners in scoring position lately, going 21-for-115 (.183) in such situations in their past 14 games.
Blue Jays: Lind finding his stroke after slow start
Although the Toronto offense has found itself in a mini skid over the past five games -- scoring three runs in four of them -- the same can't be said for Adam Lind. The Blue Jays' first baseman/DH has seven multi-hit games over his last 10 games and has raised his batting average 65 points over that span to .323.
In May, Lind hit .346 with four home runs, eight RBIs, 15 runs scored, and a .409 on-base percentage in 23 games. Lind's production is notable considering he has typically sat against lefties, giving way to Edwin Encarnacion at first base.
However, the 2009 Silver Slugger Award winner's bat has become a huge asset recently, so much so that Encarnacion has been shifted to third base to allow Lind into the lineup in National League parks.
• Lincecum has faced the Blue Jays once in his career, in his rookie season in 2007. In that outing, he was touched for seven runs on seven hits in just 3 2/3 innings.
• The Giants were outscored, 21-9, in the two games against the Blue Jays in Toronto last month.