Schmidt faces long rehab after season-ending surgery

TORONTO -- Jason Schmidt had season-ending shoulder surgery
on Wednesday and the Los Angeles Dodgers' right-hander is not
expected to return until spring training next year.

Jason Schmidt


Starting Pitcher
Los Angeles Dodgers


"We knew he hadn't been throwing well," general manager Ned
Colletti said. "It's been a concern for a few starts. Obviously
it's a disappointment. We'll just have to figure out how to make it

Schmidt, who signed a $47 million, three-year contract as a free
agent during the offseason, went 1-4 with a 6.31 ERA in six starts.

"With all due respect, he hasn't thrown well," Colletti said.
"It's not as if he was on his way to a Cy Young season and
suddenly we lost him. We need to fill the innings and we need to
fill them with quality innings."

Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said Schmidt had surgery to repair an
inflamed bursa, a torn labrum and a frayed biceps tendon in his
right shoulder. Both the labrum tear and the frayed tendon were

Conte said the torn labrum is the most serious aspect of the
surgery, performed in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening.

"The rehab has to go slower," Conte explained. "It has to
attach back to the bone and that takes some time. The whole process
is slowed down."

The bursa is a pad that decreases friction between a tendon and
a bone, Conte said.

"You have a bunch of them in your shoulder," he explained.
"There's one that sits on top of your shoulder. When it gets
inflamed, it's hard to raise your arm all the way up."

Schmidt will begin exercises to build up strength and range of
motion as soon as he is able.

"We hope that he'll be throwing in spring training," Conte
said. "We're about an hour and half out of surgery. We're going to
have to see how the rehab process goes and everything else. Based
on other guys going through similar procedures, we think he'll be
OK in spring training."

"We probably won't see him actually throwing a ball for three
to four months, depending on how the rehab goes," Conte added.

Conte said there's no way to tell when Schmidt suffered the
injury. Colletti insisted there was no sign of any damage when the
Dodgers inspected Schmidt in the offseason before making their
contract offer.

"If I had any inkling that this was what was going to be
happening in the middle of June, I doubt if we would have gone
forward with that," Colletti said.

Schmidt was placed on the disabled list in April because of
bursitis in his shoulder after going 1-2 with a 7.36 ERA in his
first three starts.

Following a 45-game absence, Schmidt returned June 5 and threw
six shutout innings in San Diego, consistently reaching 89 mph and
topping out at 91 mph.

But the 34-year-old didn't perform nearly as well in his last
two starts, and his velocity was down. He allowed three runs and
five hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on
Saturday, walking four and striking out two.

Schmidt acknowledged after Saturday's game that he was still not
at full strength.

"I just haven't felt like myself," he said.

Conte said Schmidt's labrum tear could have contributed to his
lack of velocity.

"When you take your arm back in the cocking position, if the
labrum is not stable back there, it prevents you from getting all
the way back," Conte said. "We think this is one of the main
reasons. The bursa being inflamed and scarred down, too, was
another reason. We think this explains why he was having problems
and why he couldn't seem to get going."

This is the second time in his career that Schmidt has undergone
season-ending shoulder surgery. He was sidelined for the final six
weeks of the 2000 season after surgery to repair a partially torn
rotator cuff and a frayed labrum.

Schmidt was placed on the disabled list Monday and utilityman
Marlon Anderson was activated from the disabled list to take his
place on the roster.

Right-hander Chad Billingsley (4-0) will start in Schmidt's
place against Toronto on Thursday.

Even though Billingsley will be on a pitch count, Dodgers
manager Grady Little saw no need to add another arm to his bullpen.

"We feel confident with the people we have," Little said. "We
didn't use [Mark] Hendrickson out there today and we also have
Rudy [Seanez]. He's good for a couple. They're all in good shape.
Everyone will be available [Thursday] probably except [Brett] Tomko."

Colletti said he'll give Billingsley a chance to keep his spot
in the rotation before exploring his trade options.

We'll see how the next few weeks go between now and the trade
deadline," Colletti said. "We'll see if we need to add a starter
or need to add a reliever because we've moved a reliever into the