Jason Schmidt still in extended spring training

The plan to have him make a rehab start at Inland Empire tonight was actually scrapped several days ago, but no one bothered to tell the media until today. He threw 89 pitches in an extended spring training game today. It ended when Schmidt was hit in the left leg by a line drive. But his removal was precautionary, and he isn’t believed to be injured.
“We made the decision that we wanted to get him more arm strength and extend him a little more before he went down,” Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said. “We were shooting for 90-plus pitches a couple of times before we sent him on a rehab. He felt pretty good. His last couple of outings have been good as far as command goes.”
He’ll make at least one more extended-spring start before going on a rehab. The saga continues. …
Also, there doesn’t seem to be any big reason for tonight’s lineup shuffle other than Joe wanting a right-handed batter in the cleanup spot against Jonathan Sanchez.

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Hong-Chih Kuo no longer fits into eighth-inning setup role

Call me lazy or whatever, but rather than typing this twice, I decided to simply go ahead and write it up for tomorrow’s paper and then copy/paste it here. So just ignore the dateline.

SAN FRANCISCO — One day after he declined for the second time in the past week to bring in eighth-inning setup man Hong-Chih Kuo to protect a one-run lead in the eighth inning, Dodgers manager Joe Torre finally acknowledged before Tuesday night’s game with the San Francisco Giants that the role doesn’t necessarily belong to Kuo anymore.
With reliever Cory Wade due to come off the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, Torre said he is the likely heir to the role. But Torre added that Wade will need to get back into the flow of pitching regularly in big-league games before he is given the job full-time. Until then, it appears the assignment will be doled out on a game-by-game basis.
Wade’s most recent appearance before being sidelined by bursitis in his right shoulder was on April 11 at Arizona.
“Cory would be that guy,” Torre said. “I also think I could flipflop both him and (Ronald) Belisario. I’m not sure I want to do that with Cory until he is back a while. But that would be ideal to do that, yeah.”
The problem with Kuo is his history of arm problems. He underwent two Tommy John surgeries while still in the minor leagues, he missed most of 2007 with injuries to both his shoulder and elbow, and he missed the final two weeks of last season and the first round of the playoffs with elbow soreness.
That basically prevents Torre from using Kuo in the way an eighth-inning setup man normally would be used. Torre is still reluctant to use Kuo in consecutive games, and one of the reasons he didn’t use him in Monday night’s loss to the Giants was because of the cold weather. In fact, while Belisario was pitching, blowing the one-run lead and losing the game, and Will Ohman was warming up in the bullpen, Kuo was warming up in the indoor batting cage.
Add to that Kuo’s recent inconsistency — in his past three appearances, eight of the 12 batters he has faced have reached base — and it becomes clear that he doesn’t fit the role.

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Another screw-up by your humble correspondent

If you read this morning’s paper, I mentioned that the wild pitch Ronald Belisario threw in the eighth inning last night “should have been” a passed ball charged to Russell Martin. Well, no, it shouldn’t have been. In my haste to make deadline — and, I must admit, in trying to find whatever evidence I could to support my premise that Belisario was more the victim of bad luck this time than of his own bad pitching — I got that wild pitch confused with another wild pitch earlier in the game by the Giants’ Barry Zito. THAT was the one I felt the official scorer botched, that should have been a passed ball. My apologies … and my apologies to Russell Martin. … Much nicer day today. Still cold, but not nearly as windy as last night. Was a beautiful day in the city today.

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Giants 5, Dodgers 4

We got an explanation on the ball that Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier screwed up in the first inning. As I mentioned here earlier, it was extremely windy here tonight, and it was a loud, howling wind — loud enough that neither Kemp nor Ethier could hear the other calling for the ball. That was why neither of them backed off on the play.
“We couldn’t hear each other,” Kemp said. “I don’t even remember (exactly what happened). A lot was going on at that moment. It was a tough ball. (Second baseman Orlando Hudson) said we were both calling it and we didn’t hear each other. I don’t know what to really say about it. (It was) the wind. The elements out there were pretty crazy. But no excuses. That ball should have been caught by one of us.”
Kemp also made no excuses for the next ball, which he misjudged into a triple for Randy Winn.
“It just took off. It had a weird little spin on it, and it just got away from me. But the ball should have been caught.”
It led to a three-run inning for the Giants. If both plays had been made, Randy Wolf would have had a one-two-three inning.
What happened in the eighth inning, with Ronald Belisario on the mound, is laid out in detail in tomorrow’s paper, so no need to revisit it here. In case you were wondering, Joe Torre’s explanation for why he didn’t bring in a well-rested Hong-Chih Kuo, the Dodgers’ designated eighth-inning setup man, to set up in the eighth inning was all the right-handed hitters the Giants had coming up. I’m starting to wonder whether Kuo really IS the eighth-inning setup man for this team.
Anyway, Dodgers fall to 13-7 and 2 1/2 up on the Pods. Giants now just three back. Chad Billingsley against Jonathan Sanchez tomorrow night, 7:15. Billingsley is 4-0 in four starts, but more importantly in this case, he is 3-0 in three starts following Dodgers losses. He not only pitches like an ace, he pitches like a stopper, too.

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