LOS ANGELES -- It's been quite a week for Jerry Sands.

Sands made his first big league start Monday night after getting called up from Triple-A Albuquerque, and he doubled to right field in his first career at-bat. Sands followed that up with an RBI sac fly his next time up, and then he was officially welcomed to the bigs when Tim Hudson threw a fastball behind his head in the sixth inning.

Sands was out of the Dodgers' starting lineup, but he found his way to the plate in the seventh inning, pinch hitting for Tony Gwynn, who got the start in let field. In four games, Sands is 2-for-12 with two doubles and two RBIs, and he's quickly become a fan favorite at Dodger Stadium.

"It's really just a day for Jerry," manager Don Mattingly said before the game. "He flew in, played, and a lot of stuff went on for him. So we wanted to give him a breather and take a look at a game."

In his brief time with the Dodgers, Sands already has shown the opposite-field power that made him a sensation in the Minors when he hit five home runs in just 10 games with the Isotopes this month. In the fifth inning Wednesday against Atlanta's Jairo Asencio, Sands sent another ball deep to right field and just missed his first home run.

"I think he's been good," Mattingly said. "The ball he hit last night, if it's during the day, it's gone -- and if it's probably any other ballpark, it's got a good chance of going.

"[Opposing pitchers are] going to try to figure him out, but he's a right-center-field approach type guy. And that's what's going to make him good in the long run, is that he stays on that side of the field."

Uribe slowly starting to find groove at plate

LOS ANGELES -- His .219 batting average still isn't anything to brag about, but compared to what it was just a few days ago, it's a step in the right direct for Juan Uribe.

In the course of his current four-game hitting streak, Uribe is hitting .467 (7-for-15). His seven hits during that span also equal the total from his first 13 games with the Dodgers.

As Uribe got off to his rough start, manager Don Mattingly said Uribe could be compounding his struggles by trying too hard to justify the three-year, $21-million contract he signed during the offseason.

While Uribe's 3-for-4, four-RBI performance Wednesday was just one game, Mattingly said that's the kind of night that can put a player at ease with his new club.

"Those hits yesterday were big hits for us," Mattingly said. "To me, those get you going more than anything else -- because a guy comes over and he wants to help his club and show what he can do. And when you get some hits that are big hits, you start to feel like you're a part of it"

Troncoso optioned to make room for Padilla

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers optioned right-handed reliever Ramon Troncoso to Triple-A Albuquerque following their 5-3 win over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday to make room for Vicente Padilla, who is expected to be activated prior to their game vs. the Cubs on Friday.

Padilla struck out three in 1 1/3 innings in a rehab appearance with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday. Padilla missed the beginning of the season after undergoing right forearm surgery Feb. 24.

Padilla went 6-5 with a 4.07 ERA in 16 games as a starter last season for the Dodgers, but he primarily will be used as a reliever this year.

Troncoso gave up six runs on 12 hits in 2 2/3 innings during his stay with the Dodgers.