Jason Schmidt felt well enough Wednesday to throw a 40-pitch bullpen session, tentatively keeping him on track to pitch in Friday’s “B” game. Schmidt struggled with his command in the session, which was important enough for manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt to watch that they left late for the first exhibition game of the Spring. Torre said there were no physical issues. Schmidt, trying to return from two shoulder operations, is in the mix for the fifth-starter job. — Ken Gurnick
Fifth-starter candidate Jason Schmidt allowed one hit in a scoreless inning of work during Monday’s intra-squad game for the Dodgers and came away saying his shoulder felt fine. Schmidt has undergone two operations since he last pitched in a Major League game. Schmidt got ground outs from Juan Pierre and Matt Kemp, a fly out by Mark Loretta and allowed a hit when Casey Blake’s line drive went off the glove of third baseman Luis Maza. Schmidt never faced hitters last Spring when he was struggling to return from June 2007 surgery. “My biggest goal was to get out there and walk off in one piece,” said Schmidt. “Last year, I would pitch in a game and have to take two weeks off. Tomorrow when I play catch will be the biggest hurdle, but I feel pretty good now.” — Ken Gurnick
Manager Joe Torre Sunday morning said he will continue to carefully handle reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, whose four elbow operations have taken their toll. Torre said he was told by trainer Stan Conte that Kuo is experiencing the same elbow “issues” as last spring, but “not quite as bad,” and not the same that sidelined Kuo last September.
Torre said 200 innings were realistic for Clayton Kershaw, who turns 21 next month. Kershaw threw a combined 171 innings last year, including 61 1/3 at Double-A.
Newly arrived second baseman Orlando Hudson is expected to play in Monday’s intrasquad game, with Jason Schmidt scheduled to pitch. Hudson will see his first game action since undergoing two operations in August to repair a dislocated fracture of his left wrist. It will be Schmidt’s first game action since undergoing a second shoulder operation in September.
Cory Wade, out a week after a cortisone injection in his right shoulder, will resume playing catch Monday. Yhency Brazoban had a cortisone injection Saturday and will be sidelined several days. — Ken Gurnick
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he plans to give Rafael Furcal a day off a week early in the season to avoid overworking the shortstop, who is coming off back surgery.
Torre also said Jason Schmidt is tentatively scheduled to pitch Monday in an intrasquad game and next Friday in a “B” game against the Chicago White Sox. That would put Schmidt way ahead of last year, when he suffered a quick setback in the Spring and never faced batters coming off his first shoulder surgery, then required a second procedure in September. — Ken Gurnick
Not exactly. But manager Joe Torre said one of the “big parts” of moving into an Arizona training facility for the Dodgers is having a year-round base where injured players can rehabilitate, instead of remaining with the Major League club and diverting the medical staff’s attention away from the active roster. Torre said it worked well for the Yankees with their year-round complex in Tampa, Fla. The Dodgers will have a full-time medical coordinator and therapist on site year-round at Camelback Ranch-Glendale.
Torre said the tentative plan is to have Jason Schmidt pitch in an intrasquad game Jan. 23. Torre said after watching Schmidt throw two bullpen sessions that he “appears 100 percent healthy.” Schmidt never pitched in a Spring game last year.
The club’s exhibition schedule has three days off, but Torre already decided that’s too many and is trying to add a game March 2.
Torre said he wants to limit Russell Martin to 140 games behind the plate this year, which won’t be much of a breather from last year, when he appeared in 149 games as catcher (138 starts). — Ken Gurnick
Jason Schmidt’s second bullpen session of the Spring Monday not only went without a problem, it went without a reporter’s question. A year ago, coming off his first shoulder operation, every move he made was scrutinized.
Schmidt, manager Joe Torre’s preferred pick for the fifth starter if he’s healthy, considers that a sign he is indeed healthy.
“It’s a good thing and it’s nice,” he said of being left alone.
Hiroki Kuroda looked healthy too in his first bullpen session Monday, throwing 30 pitches and saying afterward that it went better than expected. Skipping the World Baseball Classic was interpreted by some that his shoulder was acting up again, even though he’s insisted he’s fine.
Chad Billingsley had his second bullpen session Monday and reported no problem with the leg he broke in November. — Ken Gurnick