Dodgers Inside Pitch - September 15

   The smile on the face of Dodgers' right-handed pitcher Jason Schmidt returned this week. Schmidt stopped by Dodger Stadium on Thursday and was happy because his right shoulder, which underwent a surgical procedure on June 20, seemed to be healing nicely. At least he thinks it is.

   "It feels good," he said of the right shoulder that had an inflamed bursa, torn labrum and biceps tendon. "I'm feeling really good."

   Schmidt signed a three-year contract, worth $44 million, during the last off-season, but gave the Dodgers a 1-4 record, 6.31 ERA and very little velocity for their money. It was during his second stint on the disabled list that the Dodgers opted for surgery. It was that arthroscopic procedure that discovered the more serious damage to his shoulder.

   Schmidt admitted that he was surprised when he woke up following the surgery and was told about the extent of the damage to his shoulder.

   "I was disappointed, but at the same time you're relieved, because after surgery, you know that whatever was the issue is now fixed."

   At least he hopes it is. Schmidt isn't likely to be put on any kind of throwing program for another six weeks. Until then, he'll continue to go though his physical therapy and work on strengthening his shoulder.

   "I'm going five days a week and working on the full body and all of the shoulder stuff," he said. "I'm trying to get strong. This is a good chance to start over and try to rebuild the whole body and let it support itself."

   Schmidt is disappointed that he was only able to supply the Dodgers with six starts this season. He's even more disappointed by his inability to help the team as it makes its way through the final weeks of the season while competing for a playoff spot. He cheers. He supports. His thoughts are with his teammates, though his healthy right arm would be of better use to them.

   "This is what you play for," he said. "You play for these days in September, when it's so close. It would be nice if we had a 10-game lead, but this is what the game is all about. It's tough to not be here and not be part of it.

   "It's also the motivation to get back and try to get better than the year before, too."

   He's working on it. Schmidt is feeling so good that he expects to be ready to go when the Dodgers arrive in Vero Beach for their final spring training in Florida next February.

   "I've had full range of motion for quite awhile," he said. "The next phase is getting the rotator cuff strong and getting it back to the point where I can throw, and that's what I'm going to be doing for the next six weeks.

   "I'm looking forward to coming back. I think the biggest thing is going back and seeing where I'm going to be. And just having command again."

DODGERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 4: Andre Ethier went 2-for-4, but his two hits drove in two runs in the Dodgers' come-from-behind victory. Ethier singled with two outs in a four-run fifth inning, giving the Dodgers a 6-4 lead. He also scored Nomar Garciaparra from third with a two-out single in the seventh inning. Brad Penny battled through five innings and left the game trailing, but the fifth-inning outburst gave him his 16th victory of the season. Garciaparra homered and doubled in the victory.

Notes & Quotes
   --OF Jason Repko could be testing his left hamstring in Arizona's instructional league as early as next week. Repko tore the hamstring during a spring-training game and had it surgically repaired.

   --SS Rafael Furcal stole his 19th, 20th and 21st bases of the season in Thursday's victory over the Padres. He has stolen 20 or more bases in all eight of his major-league seasons.

   --RHP Takashi Saito has appeared in 59 games this season through Friday, and is one outing shy of cashing in on a $100,000 incentive clause in his contract. Saito already received $25,000 for appearing in 30, 35, 40 and 45 games. He earned $50,000 for his 50th and 55th appearances.

   --2B Jeff Kent needs 550 plate appearances this season for the option on the 2008 season to become guaranteed. The club currently holds the option, with a $500,000 buyout. Kent has 534 plate appearances as of Saturday.

   --RHP Jonathan Broxton picked up his 30th hold of the season on Thursday, tying him for third in the NL, behind Brandon Lyon (Arizona) and Derrick Turnbow (Milwaukee), who have 31 apiece. Broxton picked up No. 30 in his 76th game of the season, which ranks second among major-league pitchers.

By the Numb3rs: 16 -- The number of victories by RHP Brad Penny after beating the Diamondbacks on Friday. The 16 victories equal a career high, which he set last season.

 Notes to Quote "He said I could, but it would be a $1,000 fine." -- Dodgers manager Grady Little, after being photographed and warned by league disciplinarian Bob Watson about not wearing his Dodgers' uniform top during games.

*M*A*S*H* 4077 Report
   3B Andy LaRoche (back pain) sat out from Sept. 6-13. He played as a pinch hitter on Sept. 14.

   RHP Derek Lowe (bruised right hand) missed his Sept. 12 start, but started Sept. 15.

   LHP Randy Wolf (tender left shoulder) went on the disabled list July 4. He pitched on a rehab assignment July 25 but emerged with more shoulder irritation. He had season-ending surgery Sept. 5.

   OF Jason Repko (torn left hamstring) opened the season on the disabled list. He had surgery March 28 and is expected to be out for the season. He was moved to the 60-day disabled list Aug. 29.

   LHP Hong-Chih Kuo (sore left elbow) went on the disabled list retroactive to July 1. He had arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip from his left elbow July 25. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on Sept. 4, and he is out for the season.

   RHP Chin-hui Tsao (strained right shoulder) went on the disabled list July 15. He was ready to start a throwing program in early August, but renewed pain put those plans on hold.

   RHP Jason Schmidt (sore right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 17. He underwent exploratory surgery on June 20, and a torn labrum was discovered. He was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on Aug. 13 and will miss the rest of the season.

   RHP Yhency Brazoban (strained right shoulder) went on the disabled list June 1. He cut short a throwing session June 15, and he was subsequently diagnosed with a torn labrum. He underwent surgery June 22 and is out for the season.