"I know my team needs me here," Cabrera said.
Cabrera was back in his familiar leadoff spot for the first of three games against the Nationals on Friday. However, his rust showed, as he went 0-for-5 and the Padres lost their seventh straight game, 8-5.
The Padres were 5-12 without Cabrera, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list June 19, retroactive to June 17.
"It's good to have him back. I spoke with him [earlier] today and he's excited to be here," manager Bud Black said. "We hope that he can pick up where he left off. He's a dynamic player who has come into his own … both offensively and defensively."
At the time of his injury, Cabrera was hitting .305 with a .382 on-base percentage and 31 steals, which still leads the National League. He entered Friday's game with the highest WAR (3.6) among shortstops in the NL.
Cabrera went 0-for-7 with five strikeouts in two Minor League rehabilitation games with Class A Fort Wayne of the Midwest League.
The Padres aren't just happy about getting Cabrera's bat back in the lineup, though they need a spark after scoring seven runs in the six games during his losing skid. They want his speed and defense, too.
"He's been good and, for him, I think it solidifies that he's capable of doing that. It's only a third of the season, but it's there. He's been focused and has kept the careless mistakes to a minimum," said third-base coach Glenn Hoffman, who works with the team's infielders.
The Padres have used Pedro Ciriaco almost exclusively since Cabrera went on the disabled list.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.