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Kent rests back in finale vs. Braves

Kent rests back in finale vs. Braves

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LOS ANGELES -- Second baseman Jeff Kent, still nursing a stiff back, was out of the Dodgers lineup Wednesday night, replaced by Luis Maza.

"He was dragging last night," manager Joe Torre said of Kent. "The back's been an issue, nothing new. It got to a point it was shutdown time."

Torre said Kent would be available for pinch-hitting duties and expected him back in the lineup Thursday night, when he also planned to give shortstop Nomar Garciaparra a day off. Garciaparra, after missing two months with a bad calf, started his third consecutive game and fifth out of the last six Wednesday night.

The news was murkier on Brad Penny's right shoulder, which had a cortisone injection Monday night. Torre said he was hoping Penny would begin playing catch Thursday, but Penny said he was planning on being shut down through the All-Star break.

Pitcher Jason Schmidt (shoulder surgery) came out of a Tuesday night Minor League rehab start feeling well enough to play light catch in the outfield. He is expected to start again Sunday or Monday after allowing three runs (two earned) in four innings while making 59 pitches.

"He was pleased," said Torre, "and it's tough to get him to be pleased."

Disabled pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney (hamstring) left to begin an injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas.

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

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