Odds against Schmidt return

Times Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Jason Schmidt is expected to throw a bullpen session this week as part of a late effort to be part of the Dodgers’ playoff push, but Manager Joe Torre admitted Thursday that it would be a “longshot” for the former All-Star to pitch in the majors this season.

“A lot would have to happen in a hurry for him to pitch for us at this level,” Torre said.

Torre said the rehabilitation process will last until the second week of September -- and that’s if Schmidt doesn’t have any more setbacks.

Schmidt, who is in the second year of a three-year, $47-million contract, pitched in his last major league game almost 14 months ago, as his 2007 season was cut short by major shoulder surgery. He pitched in only six games for the Dodgers last season, posting a 1-4 record and 6.31 earned-run average.


Schmidt had promising bullpen sessions early in spring training but has since suffered several setbacks. He went on two rehab assignments, but the last of his four starts in the minors was July 13.

He’ll catch, not manage

Danny Ardoin said he’s often told he would make a good manager and he doesn’t disagree.

But when the 34-year old Ardoin was approached in the last couple of years about an offer to manage in Class A, he felt he wasn’t ready for the move. He still doesn’t.


“I feel like I still have a few good years left,” Ardoin said.

Playing beats managing, he said, even though playing time is limited for Russell Martin’s backup. Called up from triple-A Las Vegas in May, Ardoin started in only his 10th game Thursday. He singled in his first at-bat and was one for four with a run.

Because the Dodgers are short on infielders, pinch-hitting opportunities are also limited, as Torre often saves him in case he has to move the versatile Martin to third base. That was the case Tuesday in the 11th inning, when Ardoin was in the dugout wearing a helmet because Torre told him he would pinch-hit for pitcher Cory Wade if Casey Blake reached base. Blake didn’t and Wade hit for himself.

Ardoin admitted to being disappointed, but said, “I understand the different situations. I try to think like a manager.”


Saito throwing again

Closer Takashi Saito, who is recovering from a sprained ligament in his throwing elbow, was scheduled to play catch Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

The rehabilitation schedule calls for Saito to increase his throwing over the next three weeks and begin pitching off a mound in the last week of August.

Saito last pitched July 12 against Florida.


Short hops

The possibility of the Dodgers’ acquiring Greg Maddux has re-emerged, as the four-time Cy Young Award winner has cleared waivers, according to baseball sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because moves on the waiver wire are kept secret. The Dodgers were in talks with the San Diego Padres about acquiring Maddux in the days leading up to the trade deadline but could not agree on how much of the Maddux’s salary they would pay or which prospects to trade. . . . Nomar Garciaparra said his sprained left knee is “pretty close” to being 100% and that he should be ready to be activated Tuesday, when he is eligible to come off the disabled list. . . . Right-hander Chris Withrow, the Dodgers’ 2007 first-round pick, who has sat out the entire season so far because of arm and control problems, was activated and assigned to Class-A Inland Empire.