Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dodgers Jason Schmidt Abandons 98-mph Fastball

Dodgers hurler Jason Schmidt -- trying to come back from a torn labrum and other shoulder injuries -- has conceded he will no longer be able to throw his trademark 98-mph fastball, but said he can still be effective throwing in the 80s.

Readying for an outing against the White Sox on Friday, Schmidt needed only 11 pitches to retire teammates Juan Pierre, Mark Loretta and Matt Kemp during a recent intrasquad workout, though he gave up an infield hit to Casey Blake. Nine of his pitches went for strikes.

Schmidt's fastball was not clocked, but it appears as though he has lost at least 10 mph in velocity, and he indicated he has given up hope of ever being a hard thrower again.

"I just have to get it around the plate and get them to hit it on the ground," he told the Los Angeles Times at Camelback Ranch camp near Phoenix. "...I know I can do it."

The session was his first since a rehabilitative start in August. Schmidt has thrown fewer than 26 innings since signing a $47 million contract tmore than wo years ago. This is the final year of the pact.