Notes: Session dissatisfies Schmidt
Right-hander takes longer than expected to loosen up
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Jason Schmidt had his fourth bullpen session of Spring Training on Tuesday, and he wasn't thrilled with it.
Schmidt, recovering from major right shoulder surgery, reported no pain, but said he took longer to loosen up and didn't feel adequately loose until near the end of his 53-pitch session.
"I've always been that way, even in games, which is why I've had such high pitch counts," said Schmidt. "Maybe I've hit a fatigue stage. I'm trying not to get frustrated and not put myself under the microscope. I've been through rehab before and I know you don't always feel better each and every time. It's just been going so good, you want it to just keep going all spring. But I know to expect to have dips like this."
Schmidt was not satisfied with the life or command of his fastball or his slider but said he's always had difficulty working on a slider without a batter at the plate. His curveball, however, had sharp break.
"He's going through a little period -- not hurting -- but maybe he doesn't have the life in his arm he had earlier," said manager Joe Torre. "That's normal for a pitcher. He has no physical problem."
There has never been a definitive timetable for Schmidt's return, and whether he'll be ready for the start of the regular season remains unknown. He is likely to need another bullpen session before he throws live batting practice, then a simulated game, Minor League game and Major League game.
Penny sharp: By contrast, Brad Penny threw two innings worth of a simulated game/batting practice against Minor League hitters and was pleased with his recent progress.
"I was throwing harder and my curveball had a lot of bite," said Penny. "I feel like I'm now ahead of past springs."
After pitching a career-high 208 innings in 2007 while going an ace-like 16-4 with a 3.03 ERA, Penny did no offseason throwing in an effort to allow his arm maximum recovery time. After Tuesday's session, he said he feels ready for his first exhibition action in Saturday's game against the Mets at Port St. Lucie. Penny is the club's most likely candidate for Opening Day starter.
Torre said Penny seems fine to him, but the manager conceded he has "nothing to compare to" and is relying on pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.
Also throwing to hitters were non-roster pitchers Mike Myers and Tanyon Sturtze, who asked for the stepped-up competition instead of throwing normal bullpen sessions. Myers is trying to make the club as a second situational left-hander and Sturtze is shooting for a long relief role. Both have pitched for Torre with the Yankees.
"We wouldn't be here if Joe wasn't here. We both know that," said Sturtze. "We've played for him before and he knows what we can do."
Intrasquad roundup: Jason Repko, Russell Martin, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier homered in Tuesday's intrasquad game, which pitted mostly regular position players against young or non-roster pitchers.
Repko and Martin homered off Jon Meloan, Kemp off James McDonald and Ethier off Cory Wade, who just returned from Utah and the birth of his first child.
Other hitting stars included Juan Pierre (double and single) and Angel Chavez (double and single), a non-roster contender for a utility infield job. Torre said he was impressed with the pitching of McDonald, Ramon Troncoso, converted outfielder Rick Assadorian (a 1-2-3 inning) and left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo, who started and allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings when he hit his pitch limit. Justin Orenduff pitched two scoreless innings.
Torre said not to read into his batting order, but one of the squads had Pierre leading off with Nomar Garciaparra second, James Loney third, Andruw Jones fourth and Matt Kemp fifth. Rafael Furcal led off for the other squad, which had Martin catching and hitting fifth. Delwyn Young played second base and Jeff Kent did not play, but Torre said Kent will start the exhibition opener Thursday.
Infielder Tony Abreu is on a limited work schedule as he continues to recover from October sports hernia surgery. Torre said Abreu would return to full activity over the weekend.
Upcoming action: Derek Lowe is scheduled to throw a simulated game against Minor Leaguers on Wednesday, however the weather forecast is rain.
Time is right for Repko: The outfielder said his father, Ed Repko Jr., has created a batting system based on reaction time replication that the younger Repko believes will revolutionize batting practice. More information can be found at www.timerightbattingsystems.com.
Be a Dodger: The club will hold its annual free-agent tryout Friday on Fields 5 and 6. Registration will be at 8 a.m. ET, workouts at 9 a.m.
Tickets on sale: Individual game tickets for the 50th anniversary season in Los Angeles go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online at dodgers.com, by calling 866-DODGERS, visiting Ticketmaster or buying them at Dodger Stadium. The stadium's Sunset Blvd. gate opens at 8 p.m. and fans must arrive by 8:30 to get a wristband for the ticket lottery.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.