Gwynn leads the Dodgers in games played this season, appearing in 103 of 109 games, and he took over for Matt Kemp in center field when Kemp missed 51 games prior to the All-Star break with a pair of left hamstring strains. But the bulk of Gwynn's role this year and last year has been as a late-inning defensive replacement, a role that has all but disappeared with the acquisition of Shane Victorino.
"Shane changes the dynamic of the outfield," manager Don Mattingly said on Wednesday. "There's really no double switching, there's no platooning. The only place the at-bats really come are from pinch hitting."
Veteran Bobby Abreu was designated for assignment on Wednesday, and Mattingly acknowledged Gwynn would lose a lot of playing time as well.
"He was part of our discussions the last few days," Mattingly said. "I haven't had a chance to talk to Tony yet. We really didn't know what we were going to do."
Gwynn, who was hitting .232/.276/.293, signed a two-year contract in the offseason to return to the Dodgers. He has about $274,044 of his $850,000 salary remaining this season, plus $1.15 million in 2013.
Sands seemed destined for a roster spot in spring training, but got lost in the abyss of swing changes and was optioned to Triple A. Sands was recalled earlier this season and went 4-for-20 in eight games.
Sands was hitting .286/.368/.521 in Triple A this season, including .339/.422/.627 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 31 games since July 1. One would have to think Sands will take over at first base, where James Loney and Juan Rivera have taken turns not hitting.