Friday, February 15, 2008

Dodgers Jason Schmidt Suddenly Feels Pain Free

You can't exactly expect him to be in the Dodgers rotation by opening day, but former ace Jason Schmidt reports a significant breakthrough at camp in Vero Beach, Fla., a new sensation just two weeks ago of having escaped the soreness that dogged him all last year, and had been exacerbated following shoulder surgery.

Schmidt -- who went 1-4 with an uncharacteristic 6.31 ERA in his truncated 2007 season -- recently told that his soreness vanished "literally overnight."

"I'm starting to see a light at the end of the road where all the work is starting to pay off," Schmidt said. "It was nice leaving for Spring Training with a lot of the stuff resolved, physically and mentally."

The Dodgers have put no timetable on Schmidt's return, but expect the $15 million-a-year hurler to try to give the team its money's worth as soon as he once again can throw with velocity and control.

Sometime in May or June would be as good a guess as any, but there's potential Schmidt could come back earlier, considering his competitive nature. Should he win the No. 5 spot in the rotation, he would not be needed until April 18. Schmidt likely would be given a relatively light workload for some time, and is a long way from becoming a 200-inning pitcher again.