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Jason Schmidt goes on DL; career may be over

Dodgers pitcher, in the last year of a $47-million contract, has battled shoulder problems for two years.

August 28, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

DENVER — For the most part, Vicente Padilla did what he was supposed to do Thursday in his first start for the Dodgers.

For starters, he didn't throw at anyone.

Let go by the Texas Rangers last week and picked up by the Dodgers, the 31-year-old right-hander with a temper that's reputed to be as live as his arm earned the victory in a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

But how he went about holding the Rockies to two runs and six hits over five innings was somewhat unexpected.

"I didn't have my sinker today," said Padilla, who threw 80 pitches and touched 96 mph on the stadium radar gun. "Fortunately, they got under a lot of balls."

Manager Joe Torre, who resisted resting shortstop Rafael Furcal because he expected Padilla to get plenty of ground-ball outs, chuckled.

"After I told everybody how many ground balls he was going to get, he had nothing but fly balls," Torre said.

Padilla blamed the altitude, something catcher Brad Ausmus believed.

"I can attest to that," Ausmus said. "I've faced him and it sinks a lot more than that."

The Rockies had five left-handed batters in their lineup, not counting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, and Ausmus said Padilla should be more effective against a team with more right-handed hitters.

"He's not a comfortable at-bat for right-handers," Ausmus said.

Double trouble

Jonathan Broxton and George Sherrill were both called into the game earlier than usual Thursday.

The left-handed Sherrill was summoned to retire left-handed Seth Smith for the final out of the seventh inning. He recorded two outs in the eighth, surrendered a hit to Brad Hawpe and gave way to Broxton, who recorded a four-out save.

The save was Broxton's 28th.

"If it weren't for the bullpen today, we wouldn't be here talking about this," Torre said of the victory.

Until Sherrill was acquired by the Dodgers on July 30, he had spent his major league career with weak teams in Seattle and Baltimore. The stage was new to him.

"I don't want to label any one game as the biggest game I've ever pitched in, but this was one of them," Sherrill said.

Sherrill said he was still bothered by the tightness in his right side that made him unavailable for the series opener Tuesday.

"I guess it's just the elevation," he said.

Schmidt's season over

Ten.

That's how many starts Jason Schmidt made for the Dodgers over his three-year, $47-million contract.

He won't be making any more.

Schmidt, who has spent most of his time with the Dodgers on the disabled list because of shoulder problems, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Padilla on the 40-man roster. He won't be eligible to return this season, the last in his contract.

This could be the end of Schmidt's career; the 36-year-old former All-Star said several times this year that he might retire at the end of the season.

Schmidt made an unexpected comeback this season, pitching in the majors for the first time in two years. He was 2-2 with a 5.60 earned-run average in four starts.

Trainer Stan Conte, who was part of the group that made the decision to sign Schmidt, said he didn't second-guess the way he evaluated Schmidt's shoulder leading up to the signing.

"I feel I did what we needed to do," he said.

Short hops

Relief pitcher Ronald Belisario pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor DUI charges in Pasadena. The right-hander was with the Dodgers on Thursday and the plea was entered by his attorney. A pre-trial hearing has been set for Oct. 15. . . . Hiroki Kuroda, on the disabled list after being hit in the head by a line drive Aug. 15, will pitch in a simulated game Saturday in Cincinnati. . . . Infielder Tony Abreu was optioned to triple A.

--

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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