Notes: Schmidt's status 'on hold'
Little evaluating whether to send righty for next start
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Sunday appeared to be in crisis management over what to do with pitcher Jason Schmidt and his troubling shoulder.On Saturday, after another underwhelming start by Schmidt, manager Grady Little said he would continue to "run him out there." But before Sunday's game, Little said he wasn't sure if Schmidt would make his scheduled start on Thursday in Toronto and hinted the right-hander might not make the team flight on Monday, perhaps a precursor to placing Schmidt on the disabled list for more rehabilitation or for corrective surgery. "Right now, we're evaluating," said Little. "We're on hold right now." Schmidt escaped repeated jams for four innings on Saturday before receiving a quick hook after allowing two runs in the fifth inning. His velocity hovered around the mid-80s and, of equal concern, he pretty much abandoned his breaking ball, another indicator that he's not physically sound. Schmidt said he didn't feel right, but he stopped short of saying it was pain that has reduced his repertoire and effectiveness. After making three disappointing April starts, he spent seven weeks on the DL with right shoulder bursitis and Saturday's outing was his third start back. In 2000, Schmidt had surgery on his rotator cuff and labrum. The likely candidates to replace Schmidt in the rotation are long relievers Brett Tomko and Mark Hendrickson, the latter a former Blue Jay who is 7-7 with a 5.62 ERA in Rogers Centre. Another option is Chad Billingsley, who is 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA since April 29. Tomko and Hendrickson have started eight games each this year, while Billingsley has pitched exclusively in relief and his longest outing is three innings on May 26. Tomko was 1-5 with a 5.95 ERA as a starter. Hendrickson hasn't pitched since last Sunday. He is 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA as a starter. Martin scratched: Slumping catcher Russell Martin woke up on Sunday with a stiff neck and was replaced in the lineup by Mike Lieberthal. "I felt great yesterday, went to bed early, but when I woke up, I couldn't move my neck," said Martin, who is 4-for-28 on this homestand, dropping his average from .308 to .288. "Maybe it's the baseball gods telling me to chill out."
Martin has started 62 of the Dodgers' 68 games this year. He said he's fallen into a typical bad habit of pulling off pitches in recent games."Every year, you go through the ups and downs of a season, and there's times when you feel you have energy and times when you feel you lack a little energy, and that's just the way it is," he said. "When I go through this, it's usually because I'm pulling off a touch. I just need to relax and simplify it. So, I just try to go the other way. That's how I get out of it." Martin hit four homers in the last six games of the recent trip, but he hasn't had an extra-base hit since June 4. That didn't stop TV's Extra from naming Martin one of "America's Most Eligible Bachelors." He will be featured in an upcoming Sports Illustrated article and on ESPN.com and has been the focal point of a MySpace page and YouTube video. Most recently, Martin has been featured on billboards throughout the Los Angeles area and on All-Star campaign t-shirts and stickers distributed throughout Dodger Stadium. Martin said he expects 30-40 family members and friends to make the five- to six-hour drive from his hometown of Montreal to see him play in Toronto. More lineup news: First baseman Nomar Garciaparra, second baseman Jeff Kent and right fielder Matt Kemp returned to Sunday's lineup after not starting on Saturday. Garciaparra has one home run, hit two months ago, is hitting .191 on the homestand and his .272 average is a five-week low. Kent has one home run in the last three weeks and is hitting .195 with three RBIs this month. Injury update: Yhency Brazoban will have his sore shoulder examined on Monday. He has been on the DL since June 1 with a shoulder strain, having made only four appearances after missing a year with Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. Chat with Tommy: Dodgers special advisor to the chairman and Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda will host a live web chat on Tuesday at 2 p.m. PT on www.dodgers.com, becoming the 11th Dodgers player, coach or executive to host a chat with the fans in 2007. Coming up: The Dodgers fly to Canada on Monday and open a three-game series in Toronto on Tuesday night, with Brad Penny (8-1, 2.18 ERA) opposing the Blue Jays' Dustin McGowan (3-2, 4.78) at Rogers Centre.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.