Nomar, Andruw back in Dodgers' lineup

Nomar, Andruw back in Dodgers' lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers cleared room for the Friday activation of center fielder Andruw Jones and shortstop Nomar Garciaparra from the disabled list by disabling pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney and optioning outfielder Jason Repko back to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Sweeney was placed on the 15-day DL with a right hamstring injury that has bothered him for almost a month. While rehabilitating his leg, Sweeney will also work on rehabbing his bat. He's in the slump of a lifetime, batting .091 and on a current 0-for-18 drought.

"It hasn't affected my swing, although it probably looks like it," said Sweeney, who would not use the injury as an excuse for his performance.

Manager Joe Torre, however, did.

"When he first had this, we talked about the DL but he didn't want to jump ship," said Torre. "I don't think this is career threatening. In Spring Training, his bat speed was fine. That hasn't been the case lately. You don't lose that from April to July as much as you do from November to February. Saying that, we'll see if he can get it completely healthy and find if it improves the other part."

Before returning, Sweeney will have a Minor League rehabilitation assignment, allowing him to get enough at-bats to make a true judgment on his bat speed.

Repko was up for the four-game series in Houston after replacing Juan Pierre.

Meanwhile, Jones and Garciaparra were inserted into Friday's lineup against the Giants. Jones, who volunteered to return earlier than expected after Sunday's injury to Pierre, said he was sure he was ready a little more than five weeks after knee surgery.

"I was tired of rehabbing," he said after three Minor League games. "I felt good enough to start playing. If I felt uncomfortable, I wouldn't make this decision."

Said Torre: "Hopefully, this is a different Andruw. He seems to be more comfortable with the way his body feels. The fact that he talked us into this, to me, is a good sign. People should take that he's a good teammate, trying to help his team.

Garciaparra was a little more lukewarm about the condition of his calf muscle. His body produces too much scar tissue and he said there is only so much that can be done to prevent a recurrence.

"There's nothing they can do or tell me," said Garciaparra, who played two Minor League games at shortstop without getting a ground ball to field.

Garciaparra, who has been on the disabled list five times in his three seasons as a Dodger, missed 62 games with this injury. Jones missed 38.

In other injury news, disabled pitcher Brad Penny will throw a simulated game Saturday. If that goes well, he could return to the rotation for one start before the All-Star break.

And disabled pitcher Jason Schmidt allowed three runs (two earned) in 2 1/3 innings of a rehab start Thursday night for Triple-A Las Vegas, but Torre said his fastball velocity was "up a tick" to 92-93 mph and he had no physical complaints.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.