Garciaparra, Jones return from disabled list
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed back two key members of their lineup Friday, activating shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and center fielder Andruw Jones from the disabled list to start the opener of a weekend series in San Francisco.
Garciaparra had been out since April 26 with a strained left calf and Jones was sidelined since May 25 with a right knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery two days later. Both are fresh off rehab assignments with Triple-A Las Vegas earlier this week -- though Garciaparra didn't get one groundball his way during three games at shortstop. So, Los Angeles manager Joe Torre was eager to see the shortstop make his first play.
"I'm all right. I'm here, ready to go," Garciaparra said. "You just try to get back, period. Every day you don't play you're missing a game."
To clear roster room, the Dodgers optioned outfielder Jason Repko to Las Vegas only four days after he was called up to take the injured Juan Pierre's roster spot. Los Angeles placed pinch-hit specialist Mark Sweeney on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring, which had been bothering him for several weeks. The Dodgers also transferred infielder Rafael Furcal to the 60-day disabled list a day after undergoing surgery on his injured back.
Torre said Sweeney will probably receive treatment for four or five days then go out on a rehab assignment to get some swings in games.
Sweeney said he initially hurt the hamstring rounding first base in a game and tried to work through it, then felt it again recently while running in the outfield. It doesn't hurt him while batting.
"It probably looks it but haven't felt it hitting," the 38-year-old Sweeney said. "I'm running on it, but I've got to do some more stuff on it and get some more strength and go from there. It's one of those nagging injuries you have to protect. I've been riding the bike two or three times during the game. ... I'm a person who never wants to go on the DL. If it's the best-case scenario for me to get healthy, I'll do it."
Jones was batting fifth in the Dodgers' order for their first game in San Francisco this season and Garciaparra right behind him in the No. 6 hole.
Torre enjoyed finally writing their names back into the lineup after such a long absence.
"It was nice to get some experience in there," Torre said. "I think we're starting to get a better feel for ourselves."
Jones has showed his skipper he has his leg strength back. He was batting .165 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 43 games before the injury. It was Jones who volunteered to come back so soon considering the Dodgers didn't expect him to return until after the All-Star break.
"Hopefully this is a different Andruw," Torre said. "He seems more comfortable with how his body feels."
Repko went 0-for-7 with four strikeouts over his four games.
"I'm going back down to Triple-A and it will drive me more," Repko said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press