Here’s the notebook top I just filed for tomorrow’s paper on Schmidt’s outing today No action so far in the game. Dodgers have gone four up, four down after scoring 10 runs on 16 hits last night. Dodgers 0, Nats 0, top 2
WASHINGTON — Jason Schmidt blew away the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes for six innings on Wednesday, including rehabbing Angels outfielder Garret Anderson twice. Along the way, the right-hander blew away expectations in the first start of his own minor-league rehabilitation assignment with the Dodgers’ Single-A Inland Empire affiliate, taking a giant leap toward returning to the big club.
The only question is whether he is ready to return now.
“I think there is some possibility, but it’s too premature for us to say that strongly,” said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, who was at the game in San Bernardino along with trainer Stan Conte. “But I wouldn’t rule it out, either.”
Schmidt pitched six shoutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out seven. But his velocity, which was noticeably down even before he went onto the disabled list April 17 with bursitis in his shoulder, still wasn’t where it historically has been. His 71 pitches consistently fell between 88-91 mph and topped out at 92.
Not that anyone is terribly alarmed by that.
“You can pitch and be successful at 88-91,” Colletti said. “He can command four pitches. He might have to change the eye level and change the bat speed. But it’s not like he has always been a power pitcher who lives and dies with one pitch.”
Schmidt will throw a side session on Friday, probably with the major-league team in Pittsburgh, after which there should be a much clearer picture of what happens next. He could make another start for Inland Empire, or he could make another start with a higher Dodgers affiliate, or he could return to the Dodgers’ starting rotation sometime in the next week.
Manager Grady Little seemed to dismiss that notion.
“I think he’ll have to build up to a certain point before he takes the rubber for us,” Little said. “That is just my personal opinion, but we’ll talk about it.”