Schmidt May not be Ready Opening Day

The recovery of Dodgers pitcher Jason Schmidt is progressing, but it's still unclear if the right-hander will be ready to join the rest of his teammates at the beginning of spring training next month.

Schmidt has been playing catch -- making about 110 pitches per day -- but didn't start throwing off a mound until last week. ??"As far as his rehab has gone, he has not any setbacks at this point," Dodgers' head trainer Stan Conte said during a workout Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

"He's thrown off the mound but it's not a bullpen, starting last week. We still have a significant amount of stuff we have to do to get him competitive."?

? Schmidt was acquired by the Dodgers before the 2007 season but appeared in only six games before being shelved by surgery to his right shoulder. The Dodgers have taken a conservative approach in his recovery and are pleased with the progress he has made so far.?

Conte will visit Schmidt in Arizona the week before pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report for spring training. Rather than make a decision based on the reporting date, Conte wants the condition of Schmidt's shoulder to be the determining factor.?

Repko Signs-- Outfielder Jason Repko agreed to a one-year contract for $487,500, leaving two Dodgers still eligible for salary arbitration with figures to be exchanged later in the day.

Repko missed the entire 2007 season because of surgery to repair a torn hamstring suffered in Spring Training. He earned $395,000 last year and can earn an additional $87,500 in performance bonuses.

Still eligible for the arbitration process are relievers Joe Beimel and Scott Proctor.

Aybar Traded to Rays-- The Tampa Bay Rays acquired infield help when they sent left-hander Jeff Ridgway to the Braves in exchange for infielders Willy Aybar and Chase Fontaine.

Aybar, 24, who went to the Braves for third baseman Wilson Betemit, missed all of last season due to an injured right wrist and a stint at a rehabilitation facility for substance abuse. He sustained the wrist injury in Spring Training and underwent surgery in August.

In 105 career Major League games for the Dodgers and the Braves, the switch-hitting Aybar has a .292 average with five home runs, 40 RBIs and a .387 on-base percentage; he has played 81 games at third base and 21 at second. Friedman said the Rays plan to look at him at first and in the outfield as well.

Aybar has spent the offseason playing third base for Licey in the Dominican Winter League, batting .268 in 27 regular-season games. He is currently hitting .339 for Licey in the league's round-robin tournament with a home run and six RBIs.

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