SAN DIEGO -- If Giants catcher Hector Sanchez has looked like a brand new player since being recalled last month, it's because he feels like one.
Sanchez, who sustained a right shoulder injury while playing in the Venezuelan Winter League last season, said he's feeling fully healthy and uninhibited with his swing. As a result, he's become the solid option behind the plate that he was during the club's 2012 title run.
"My shoulder feels 100 percent, and I've really been concentrating on my swing," Sanchez said. "I was working in Triple-A, and I started to feel really good, really comfortable, swinging at pitches in the strike zone."
Sanchez drove in three runs in Sunday's win over Arizona, and he went 2-for-4. Since being recalled Aug. 8, Sanchez is hitting .286 in 35 at-bats.
"I don't remember exactly when [it happened], but when my shoulder started feeling good, I started feeling more aggressive," Sanchez said.
After being placed on the disabled list with the strained shoulder, Sanchez was optioned to Triple-A Fresno upon his return, where he played 32 games.
Manager Bruce Bochy said he's seen a noticeable difference in Sanchez's approach at the plate since his return.
"When he came back from Fresno this last time, you could see a difference in the way he was swinging the bat," Bochy said. "The shoulder wasn't affecting him. Watching him throw, I thought, 'This is the Hector that we saw last year.'"
Hembree, Monell among eight Giants callups
SAN DIEGO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced eight September callups following Monday's game in San Diego, including a pair of additions from outside of the club's 40-man roster.
Infielders Nick Noonan and Ehire Adrianza, outfielders Francisco Peguero and Juan Perez and pitchers George Kontos and Jake Dunning were all recalled from Triple-A Fresno, which concluded its Pacific Coast League season Monday.
Righty reliever Heath Hembree and catcher Johnny Monell were also added to the big league club. With no current room available on the 40-man roster, the Giants will make a pair of moves before Tuesday night's contest to clear space for Hembree and Monell.
The 24-year-old Hembree, San Francisco's No. 6-rated prospect by MLB.com, will get a chance to make his Major League debut after he was taken by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2010 Draft. In 54 games this season, Hembree posted a 4.07 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched), while recording 31 saves.
Best known for his high-velocity fastball, which touches the upper 90s, Hembree has reportedly improved his offspeed stuff this year. Catcher Hector Sanchez says an expanded arsenal could make Hembree very tough to hit -- even at the Major League level.
"He's not scared to throw his fastball in any count," Sanchez said. "... He has the fastball, and with the secondary pitches [working] really good, he'll be really comfortable."
Of the six players already on the 40-man roster, only Adrianza has yet to make his Major League debut. Splitting time between Double-A Richmond and Fresno this season, Adrianza hit .266 with two homers and 17 stolen bases.
"Adrianza has been at Triple-A, and he's done a good job," Bochy said. "He's a gifted defender. How much he'll play, I can't answer that, but it does give us a chance to take a look at him."
As for Monell, Bochy said the primary reasoning for calling him up was to add a third catcher in case he wants to use Sanchez as a pinch-hitter.
Noonan, Perez, Peguero, Dunning and Kontos have each spent time with the Giants already this season.
So, too, did left-hander Eric Surkamp, but the Giants opted to shut him down for the year, citing his long recovery from Tommy John surgery that lasted until midseason. Surkamp was solid for Fresno this year, posting a 7-1 record and a 2.78 ERA.
Pagan's successful return eases Giants' minds
SAN DIEGO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy says he's seen no trace of the hamstring injury that sidelined center fielder Angel Pagan for more than three months.
A full recovery for Pagan, who underwent hamstring surgery in June and returned to the lineup Friday, would give the Giants some stability heading into the offseason, when fellow outfielder Hunter Pence will be a free agent.
"It gives us a sense of comfort to go into the offseason -- the fact that we know that he's going to be fine next year," Bochy said. "And I think that playing here the next month is important for Angel, too, for his peace of mind."
In two games since his return, Pagan has gone 2-for-7 -- and he even stole a base Saturday. He sat out Sunday's game as a precaution but was back in the lineup and leading off Monday.
"He's running really well," Bochy said. "It amazes me, with the surgery that he had and what they did, how well he's doing. Getting down the line, he's shown no effects of any kind of surgery or the injury."
Entering Monday, Pagan had played in 48 games, during which he hit .263.
Cain on track after extended bullpen session
SAN DIEGO -- Matt Cain threw 90 pitches in the Petco Park bullpen before Monday's game against the Padres.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the right-hander felt fine and is on track to start Saturday's game against Arizona at AT&T Park.
Cain was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career last month after he was hit on the right forearm by a line drive off the bat of Pittsburgh's Gaby Sanchez.
In other injury news, Bochy said reliever Jeremy Affeldt will face hitters Tuesday. Affeldt has been out since July 20 with a strained left groin.
Meanwhile, right-hander Chad Gaudin, who is on the DL with carpal tunnel syndrome, will likely throw a bullpen at some point over the weekend.