Shin-Soo Choo proudly flexed his left thumb, reaching to the right and touching his little finger. It was a display of dexterity that any 10-year-old can perform, unless the 10-year-old has a fractured thumb.

On June 24 in San Francisco, Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez struck Choo in the hand with a fastball that broke his thumb. The next day, both players went on the disabled list. Like Choo, Sanchez remains on the list with a injury to his biceps.

Choo's thumb is still swollen and the nail is an ugly shade of purplish gray. But looks can be deceiving and beside the point.

It has been 4› weeks since Choo was hit by Sanchez. It was expected to take eight to 10 weeks before he could return to the lineup. He thinks it will be sooner.

"The doctor said I wouldn't be able to do that [touch his thumb to his little finger)]yet,'' Choo said Sunday. "So I'm three weeks ahead of schedule."

Head trainer Lonnie Soloff even gave the go-ahead for Choo to begin very limited baseball activity.

"Lonnie said that I could start swinging a bat and throwing a ball today," Choo said. "I did it this morning, and it feels good. The doctor said I probably could come back after eight or 10 weeks, but now maybe it will be seven or eight.