Schmidt and 3B updates

Jason Schmidt has a tired arm, which is to be expected given that his rehab program has had him throwing since November. It’s not a setback at all, but it does sort of clear up why team officials were so dead set against saying anything optimistic about him possibly being ready for opening day. I’m going to do a 180 now and predict he WON’T be ready for opening day. It’s just going to take him too long to build up his innings, so the best guess here is he comes back around April 15.
“I’m not planning on him when the season starts,” Joe Torre said. “He c“ould be a surprise, but we’ll see. If he isn’t ready, I think we’ll be covered.”
Esteban Loaiza would presumably then take the fifth spot, but Torre said the first week of camp he isn’t likely to use five starters if the team has off-days.
Meanwhile, Torre seemed to hint that Nomar Garciaparra is the favorite to land the starting 3B job.
“I talked to him the other day,” Torre said. “I explained to him that being the veteran guy, he has the inside track as far as being the starting third baseman. But we will (start the season) with the best 25 (players) we can get.”

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