Jason Schmidt was back on the mound last week, throwing off an incline for the first time since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in June.
Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said Wednesday that Schmidt hasn't had any problems while rehabilitating in Arizona, but warned that it was far too early to tell whether the 34-year-old right-hander will be ready for the start of spring training next month. Pitchers and catchers will report Feb. 14 to Vero Beach, Fla.
Conte said that Schmidt threw 10 to 15 pitches with little velocity in his two sessions on the mound last week without any discomfort in his shoulder. The next step for Schmidt, who has been making 100 to 110 throws on flat ground four to five times a week, will be to throw with greater intensity.
General Manager Ned Colletti said he was encouraged by Conte's report.
"If he continues to progress, there's a great chance he'll be ready to go" for spring training, Colletti said. "There's been nothing to discourage us."
Conte said that until he visits Schmidt in Arizona the week before spring training, he won't know what the pitcher will be capable of doing when the team opens camp.
Schmidt was 1-4 with a 6.31 earned-run average in six starts last season, the first year of his three-year, $47-million contract. He will enter the spring competing for the fifth spot in the rotation with Esteban Loaiza, who didn't pitch his first big league game last season until Aug. 22.
The Dodgers are in the second week of a two-week winter camp at Dodger Stadium designed to ease their top prospects' transitions from the minor leagues to the majors. Top pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw, third baseman Andy LaRoche, shortstop Chin-Lung Hu and reliever Jonathan Meloan are among the players attending the camp, which has included lectures from the likes of John Wooden and Duke Snider.
Andruw Jones, Brad Penny, James Loney and Matt Kemp, and coaches Don Mattingly and Rick Honeycutt also have shown up at various sessions. Manager Joe Torre will be at this morning's workout.
Colletti will be among the participants in a charity soccer game that Nomar Garciaparra and his wife, Mia Hamm, will play host to at the Home Depot Center on Jan. 26. Colletti said he was a left-sided midfielder for Triton College in Illinois and later for a semi-pro team in Chicago, but hasn't played in a competitive game in about 25 years.
"I just got some new shoes and I know that there's either two goals in those shoes or a torn ACL," said Colletti, who will share the field with present and former soccer stars such as Landon Donovan and Eric Wynalda.
All proceeds will benefit bone marrow patient and family services at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Tickets can be purchased for $20 through Ticketmaster ( www.ticketmaster.com or 213-480-3232) or at the Home Depot Center box office.
Right-hander Yhency Brazoban and the Dodgers avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $540,000 contract. Brazoban, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in June, can earn up to $120,000 in bonuses based on his number of appearances. Three Dodgers remain eligible for arbitration: relievers Joe Beimel and Scott Proctor, and outfielder Jason Repko.
Talks with free agents Mark Sweeney and Rudy Seanez have stalled because of financial differences, Colletti said. . . . Rich Donnelly, who served as the Dodgers' third base coach the last two seasons, has joined the Pittsburgh Pirates as a player development advisor. Donnelly was on the Pirates' coaching staff from 1986 to 1996. . . . Left-hander Mark Hendrickson, who pitched for the Dodgers in 2006 and 2007, signed a one-year contract guaranteed for $1.5 million with the Florida Marlins.