It's a Bird or a Plane. No, its Jason Schmidt

The Dodgers played their only intrasquad game Monday, at least no more have been scheduled, and a raft of pitchers gave credence to the old saw "In the spring, the pitchers are ahead of the batters. And the one most closely watched, Jason Schmidt, shot out the lights.

Schmidt, who has been disabled much of the first two years of his three-year contract, faced four batters and retired Juan Pierre on a ground ball to second, Mark Loretta on a fly ball, allowed an infield hit to Casey Blake and then induced Matt Kemp to bounce out to end the inning. He needed only 11 pitches and nine of them were strikes.

After he game he admitted he would probably never hit 96-98 on the gun again but without breaking strike also said he would be the same pitcher he ever was. "I always tried to pitch like I was a finesse guy anyway, trying to mix it up all the time and trying to hit my spots and I'll try to take the same approach. The first time I had surgery in 2000, I started off at 85 (on the gun) and I was effective then.

"Some of my better games were when I had less velocity. I know I can do it. It's just a matter of getting my command, he told the writers that gathered around him after his one inning outing. He said he expected his command would slowly come back during spring training.

Schmidt, pitching for the Drysdale's, was followed by +++ Threets, who allowed only a walk in his inning, Scott Elbert, who worked around a hit and a walk and Jesus Castillo, who gave up an infield hit to Chin-Lung Hu, a broken bat single to Val Pascucci and was tagged with a wild pitch that allowed a run.

Jonathan Broxton started for the Koufax team and allowed a first-pitch single to Rafael Furcal and allowed a walk but no runs. Torre said, "You could see he was thinking about delivery time and changing up the tempo." Broxton threw 17 pitches, 10 for strikes.

?Greg Miller's bad luck continued and he allowed a pair of runs but through no fault of his own. An error on Tony Abreu at short was followed by a drive to center by Jason Repko that went for a triple and a run when Matt Kemp slipped. Luis Maza's sac fly drove in a second run.

Justin Orenduff also opened some eyes, displaying a changed set of mechanics that he had worked on during the Arizona Fall League. He retired Furcal on a fly ball, struck out Russell Martin, and got James Loney on a bouncer.

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said, "If he can stay with what he is doing now, the results will be dramatic."

Orenduff may have thrust himself into the battle for the fifth starting slow with his effort. Scott Elbert, who is also in the mix, had to worked around a hit and a walk to escape without a run. Victor Garate seemed to make the statement he was for real by pitching a solid inning.

Claudio Vargas has been tabbed to open the exhibition season against the Cubs on Wednesday. Eric Milton, Ramon Troncoso, Stephen Randolph, Nick DeBarr and Carmen Cali are also penciled in to see action.

Randy Wolf draws the Thursday start against the Giants, followed by Jeff Weaver, Eric Stults, Jonathan Broxton, Tanyon Sturtze, Edgar Martinez and Scott Strickland.

Chad Billingsley will start against the Rockies on Friday with Clayton Kershaw opening against Seattle on Saturday.

Hiroki Kuroda will get the historic start in the Dodgers first game in the new Camelback Park on Sunday.

Milwaukee and the Dodgers will stage a B game on Monday, which is a scheduled open date.

With an eye to the future, Manager Joe Torre said that Blake DeWitt will be indoctrinated at shortstop during the spring and while he didn't say it, the move is apparently an insurance policy in case Rafael Furcal needs more than the one day a week rest Torre plans to give him.

Until then, he'll be playing 2B until they are ready to put Orlando Hudson into some games at second base. The Dodgers will treat Hudson with kid gloves until it is certain that his injured wrist is fully functional.

Hudson underwent a pair of operations late in the season to repair his left wrist after it was broken in a baseline collision with Atlanta's Brian McCann. He is reportedly swinging a bat comfortably.

"We're all looking forward to him being ready for Opening Day," Torre said. "But if that isn't the case, we'll make sure we get him well and get him to a point where he is confident in his ability to do everything."

With the surgery on Hudson's glove had, club officials aren't taking anything for granted. "Offensively, I don't think it will be an problem," Torre said. "But he plays a position that requires the use of the glove hand in making a tag. I don't think it will bother him but it isn't all the way healed yet." And reliever Cory Wade threw off flat ground Monday for the first time since receiving a cortisone shot in his right shoulder after he suffered a recurrence of the inflammation that landed him on the disabled list for most of last August.

Wade reportedly feels no pain after receiving treatment over the past several days for a condition that got out of hand last season because he didn't want to stop pitching during the pennant race.

Make or Break for Estes Lefthander Shawn Estes he will either make the major league roster or retire. Estes said, "I'll look for a job with another (major league) team. If that doesn't happen, I'll retire."

Estes reported he's finally healthy after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2006 and not pitching in the majors in 2007. In 2008, he was 1-1 with a 3.57 earned-run average in his first four starts with the San Diego Padres.

Estes fell and broke his thumb in May and spent the next three months on the disabled list, finishing 2-3 with a 4.74 ERA in nine games, including eight starts.

Sorry Odalis The Nationals released LHP Odalis Perez after signing him eto a minor league contract two weeks ago. Perez upset about not getting a major league deal and has been holding out ever since. He didn't show up to Nationals camp by the mandatory reporting date and refused to return the team's calls, so they understandably decided to just move on.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories