Giants send Sweeney to rival Dodgers
Sweeney had a pinch-hit single in the sixth inning of San Francisco's 3-1 loss to Washington on Thursday, his major league-leading 16th of the season and 155th of his career. Sweeney trails only Lenny Harris with 212 on the career list.
"To be frank, we're not a good enough team to have somebody like Mark on it as a premium pinch-hitter," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. "He was playing sparingly and we do need to look at some of these other guys."
The last time the Giants and Dodgers made a trade, San Francisco sent catcher Alex Trevino to Los Angeles in December 1985 for outfielder Candy Maldonado.
The Dodgers, who trail Arizona by five games in the NL West, sent the last-place Giants a player to be named.
"Baseball wise it's a better opportunity for me," Sweeney said. "Being with a contender and doing the utility job, it's a lot more important and has more relevance with what you do when the team is winning, rather than building."
Sweeney said he would miss his teammates and the staff in San Francisco. He also told Barry Bonds that he was happy the deal came after the slugger broke Hank Aaron's career home run record with No. 756 on Tuesday night.
Sweeney is 16-for-49 (.327) as a pinch-hitter this season and has 11 hits in his last 23 times up in the pinch. The Dodgers have struggled in that situation this season with their pinch-hitters batting just .235 (36-for-153).
"He's been around this game for a long time," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You've got a club that is contending that wants one of the best pinch-hitters in the game. He should be flattered."
Sweeney can also play first base and outfield for the Dodgers, who have struggled offensively. Los Angeles snapped a 28-inning scoreless streak earlier Thursday in a 5-4, 11-inning win over Cincinnati.
"Mark provides us with another experienced bat off the bench and from time to time he may be called on in a starting role," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "He has tremendous makeup and will bring a lot to this club."
Sweeney's tenure in San Francisco will be remembered most for a link to a reported failed amphetamines test by Barry Bonds. The New York Daily News reported in January that Bonds failed an amphetamines test last season and initially attributed it to a substance he took from Sweeney's locker. Bonds later said he never got amphetamines from Sweeney.
Sweeney is in the final year of a $1.8 million, two-year contract. He is the second veteran player the Giants have traded in the past two weeks, following the deal of starter Matt Morris to Pittsburgh. With the Giants in last place in the NL West, more deals could be coming before the Aug. 31 trade deadline.
"You kind of had a feeling that when they traded Matt Morris that that was the first sign this might start happening," outfielder Randy Winn said.
The Giants will call up outfielder Dan Ortmeier from Triple-A Fresno to take Sweeney's spot on the roster.
The team will need to make at least one additional roster move Friday when Russ Ortiz is activated from the disabled list to start against Pittsburgh.
Also, outfielder Dave Roberts underwent an MRI exam after bruising his right knee in Thursday's game. Sabean did not have results of the test yet and did not know whether Roberts would need to be disabled.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press