With the addition of Shane Victorino and the returns of a healthy Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, Gwynn's role had been diminished to that of a pinch-hitter in late-game situations, as he was no longer needed as a defensive replacement. Before being designated for assignment, Gwynn was in an 0-for-13 slump that dated to July 23.
Gwynn has started only three games since the All-Star break, and he went 2-for-15 in those starts. He was a valuable replacement in center field while Kemp was on the disabled list, but overall, he was batting .232 in 103 games after cooling down offensively.
"You get to know these guys, and Tony has been a special guy," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "For me, as far as a guy that works, he does everything you ask. He really has been a big part of the attitude and the way guys work.
"We just didn't feel like he was going to get on the field. That was pretty much it."
Sands makes his second appearance with the Dodgers this season after a recent stretch of lighting up Triple-A pitching. On July 29, he became just the fifth player in Pacific Coast League history to hit two grand slams in a game.
The 24-year-old outfielder was batting .476 with six homers and 21 RBIs since July 27 at Albuquerque. He hit .200 with two doubles and an RBI in eight games in May for the Dodgers. In 69 Major League games, he has four homers and 27 RBIs and a .248 average.
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.