The 23-year-old outfielder, who has battled minor yet nagging injuries all season, will miss at least a couple of weeks with a sprained right thumb. Eric Patterson was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to join the A's for the second time this season to take Sweeney's spot on the 25-man roster.
Sweeney, who had been one of the A's biggest offensive threats, hurt the thumb Tuesday while making a sliding catch. The rookie also has been playing with a bruised right hand and a torn left pinkie tendon to go along with an ankle sprain. On top of that, he was on the DL earlier this year with a left toe contusion.
"People make fun of you for stuff with your pinkie or thumb," the outfielder said before Wednesday's game. "But it's frustrating. I wish I was healthy to see what I could do."
The consistent Sweeney was hitting .287 with four home runs and 37 RBIs in 88 games with the A's, ranking fourth among American League rookies in batting average. He will receive an MRI on both the sprained thumb and torn pinkie tendon on Friday, when he will find out how long the injuries will keep him out of the lineup.
"The doctor felt like he'll definitely miss a couple weeks," manager Bob Geren said. "Hopefully it's just that."
In the meantime, the skipper said he is looking forward to giving another shot to Patterson, who struggled in his first stint with the A's at the end of July, going 0-for-10. Following his July 30 demotion, the 25-year-old batted .304 with a home run and seven RBIs in 11 games with Sacramento.
"I know what kind of talent Patterson has, so I'd like to give him a chance up here," said Geren, who placed the youngster in left field Wednesday. "The coaches at Triple-A raved about him, so this will be a good opportunity."
At the same time, the A's skipper knows the absence of Sweeney isn't just another shoulder shrug.
"He's been one of our best baserunners, defensive players and offensive players," Geren said.
With the outfielder's temporary absence, the A's have used the disabled list 21 times this year, one short of the team record of 22 that was set in 1992 and matched last year.