It's been 10 months since Schmidt's shoulder surgery and, after a Spring Training setback, he's back to throwing regularly off a mound. Schmidt said the stiffness that he had been experiencing when beginning to warm up has suddenly diminished.
Torre said Schmidt will have another bullpen session during the brief homestand toward the end of this week and a simulated game will be arranged on the trip to Florida and Colorado the following week. The next test would be a Minor League rehabilitation assignment, but the club is reluctant to plan that far ahead after the disappointment of the Spring setback.
"He'll need all the rehab he can get -- it's 30 days for a pitcher," said Torre. "Hopefully, he'll continue to improve."
LAD: LHP Hong-Chih Kuo (0-0, 0.79 ERA)
Kuo, who replaced Esteban Loaiza in the rotation, pitched well in his second start of the season, giving up only one earned run in four innings of work in an 11-2 win last Tuesday. Kuo threw 33 pitches in the first inning, when he walked three straight batters to force in a run. He gave up only one hit over the next three innings, but was pulled before qualifying for the victory. He retired both batters he faced Friday night in relief of Derek Lowe.
CIN: RHP Edinson Volquez (2-0, 1.17 ERA)
In the Reds' 9-2 win over the Cubs on Thursday, Volquez allowed one earned run, four hits and four walks and struck out seven over five innings. He found himself in several deep counts and came out of the game after throwing 112 pitches. Able to rely on his excellent stuff, including a mid-90s fastball with movement, he wiggled out of a few tight situations, but it still cost him an earlier exit.
Chan Ho Park, despite allowing a pair of solo home runs -- one a mammoth 466-feet by Joey Votto -- pitched three innings and was credited with a save, the first of his career. ... Torre said Yhency Brazoban, virtually unhittable so far pitching for Double-A Jacksonville, is "at the top of the list" of candidates to be promoted when the Dodgers need bullpen help. Brazoban, sent down after a setback from shoulder surgery during Spring Training, has lost "seven or eight pounds," according to Torre. ... Andy LaRoche had five at-bats in an extended Spring Training game and is expected to join Jacksonville for a rehab assignment later in the week. ... Rafael Furcal has three home runs, tied with Jeff Kent for the team lead. He didn't hit his third last year until July 22. The one he hit Monday night was his 22nd leading off a game and his 10th with the Dodgers, leaving him tied for second with Johnny Frederick on the all-time franchise list. ... With a single on Monday, Kent extended his hitting streak to eight games. ... The Dodgers have won 11 of their past 13 against Cincinnati.
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Wednesday: Dodgers (Derek Lowe, 1-1, 2.59) vs. Diamondbacks (Dan Haren, 3-0, 1.80), 7:10 p.m. PT
Thursday: Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 0-3, 6.14) vs. Diamondbacks (TBD), 7:10 p.m. PT
Friday: Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 1-2, 2.92) vs. Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez, 1-2, 4.64), 7:40 p.m. PT