06/19/07 7:15 PM ET
Schmidt, Brazoban to have surgery
Status of both free agent signee and veteran reliever uncertain
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Schmidt will undergo exploratory arthrosopic surgery Wednesday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, seeking to find his disappearing fastball and repair the reason for it. Tests so far haven't been able to pinpoint specific damage, so Schmidt's return is dependent on what is found and what it takes to fix.
Club officials are uncertain about a timetable on Schmidt, but he's out indefinitely, perhaps the rest of the year. Schmidt will be replaced in the starting rotation by Chad Billingsley.
Brazoban will have a cartilage tear in his shoulder repaired arthroscopically by ElAttrache on Friday. If it's a minor tear, he could be back in a few months. If it's major, he's out for the year.
Because Brazoban was coming off Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, his return this season was already viewed as something of a bonus to the bullpen, although it lasted only four appearances.
At a cost of $47 million for a three-year free agent contract, more was expected of Schmidt.
He had no life on his fastball throughout Spring Training and the first three starts in April. He then spent seven weeks on the disabled list calming bursitis and strengthening the shoulder. His return was promising, as he pitched six scoreless innings against San Diego, but he regressed the last two, particularly Saturday. He was put on the disabled list Monday after the decision to operate.
"We thought we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, but it turned out to be an oncoming train," said trainer Stan Conte. "The conservative approach failed."
Conte said Schmidt confirmed Sunday that the discomfort returned.
"Not a huge pain," Conte said, "but enough to be restrictive. It's the same issues. We kind of felt we were right back where we were in Spring Training."
Schmidt has been disabled with shoulder problems six times as a Major Leaguer and underwent surgery in 2000 by Dr. James Andrews for labrum and rotator cuff damage.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.