MILWAUKEE -- It's legitimate to wonder why Joaquin Arias, who has helped the Giants weather the absence of third baseman Pablo Sandoval, has played for five organizations in 11 professional seasons.

The answer, as is so often the case, is health.

Arias underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in July 2007, causing observers to question his ability to throw. Until then he had been a fairly promising prospect.

"He's a pretty well-known commodity," Bobby Evans, the Giants' vice president of baseball operations, said.

Watching Arias play for Escogido in the Dominican Winter League convinced the Giants that he could throw adequately from any infield position. Of course, several other teams reached a similar conclusion. But Arias chose the Giants, though he couldn't have known at the time that Ryan Theriot would sign with San Francisco -- which conceivably could have relegated Arias to Triple-A all season -- or that Sandoval would fracture his left hamate bone.

"He wanted to be sure that this was a legitimate opportunity to contribute," Evans said. "At that point we hadn't signed Theriot, but it was clear there were some windows of opportunity where he could get a utility role."

Melky, Angel earn Bochy's compliments

MILWAUKEE -- Manager Bruce Bochy has made up his mind about outfielders Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan, and his thoughts about the newcomers are only positive.

"You hear the term 'gamer.' They want to play," Bochy said of the pair. "That's what you love about our two new guys. They want to be out there. They love playing, and it shows in how they play."

Indeed, Cabrera and Pagan were among the Giants who participated in optional batting practice on Wednesday morning before starting against the Brewers. Later, Pagan launched San Francisco's bid to rally from an eight-run deficit by hustling out an infield single in the third inning, diving headfirst into first base to get the "safe" call.

Later in that inning, Cabrera reached safely on a fielder's-choice grounder, and he added an RBI double in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to seven games.

It was a key moment for the Giants, but Cabrera, who began the afternoon leading the Majors in hits, took it in stride.

"He plays the game and acts like he's been there before," Bochy said.

Giants option Culberson to Fresno

MILWAUKEE -- The Giants have optioned infielder Charlie Culberson to Triple-A Fresno, a move they announced after Wednesday's 8-5 loss to the Brewers.

Though a corresponding transaction wasn't announced, the move is likely meant to clear space on the active roster for infielder Ryan Theriot, who's eligible to be reinstated from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday. Theriot has been sidelined by a strained right elbow.

Culberson appeared in six games, including five starts at second base. He hit .136 with no extra-base hits and one RBI.