According to Rick Honeycutt, Schmidt felt much better about his mechanics after throwing a side session this morning. He had appeared in an intrasquad and a B game and thrown live batting practice on the minor-league side for his first three turns, and Joe Torre told us this morning (before Schmidt threw off a mound in the strings area) that Schmidt hadn’t felt good about the way the ball was coming out of his hands. That was clearly just a product of the fact he hasn’t pitched competitively in so long. He now has plenty of time to make a strong run at the fifth spot in the starting rotation. … By the way, the mariachi band was replaced today by a band that plays island music, whatever they call that (tiki, calypso, I’m not sure what the word for it is). So Schmidt had a nice backdrop of Caribbean sound (or Hawaiin if you prefer) as he threw his pen. Maybe that was what made the difference.