PHOENIX -- A couple of rotation injuries have opened the door for Chris Heston.
The 26-year-old right-hander was supposed to start Sacramento's season opener but instead will face the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday at Chase Field. Heston is starting in place of Matt Cain, who has a flexor tendon strain and is headed for the disabled list for the fifth time in the last three seasons. Cain is expected to miss at least two weeks. With Ryan Vogelsong starting in place of Jake Peavy (back tightness) on Tuesday and management wanting to keep Yusmeiro Petit in the bullpen, Heston gets his second career start.
"You don't really expect to get called up before the season starts, but I'm excited to be here and go out there and help the team," Heston said.
Heston actually flew from Phoenix to Sacramento on Monday and was having lunch when general manager Bobby Evans told him to fly back for his second stint in the big leagues. He made three appearances last September, allowing six hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings. Heston started the regular season finale and pitched just four innings, but his minor league numbers showed he may be ready for another shot. In the tough Pacific Coast League, Heston posted a 3.38 ERA in 28 starts for the Fresno Grizzlies. He had a 1.17 WHIP in his second Triple-A season.
Heston put on some weight this offseason and Giants catchers noticed a difference in his stuff. He had a strong spring, giving up just four runs in 15 innings.
"I feel great," he said. "I feel like it's a little easier on my body. The ball is coming out easier, which makes it nice."
Heston started against the Dodgers on March 27 and allowed two runs over six strong innings. He said that was a boost as he prepared for the season.
"I'm ready to rock," he said. "You have a little success, that definitely helps the confidence."
Cain's placement on the DL is retroactive to April 4.