Jason Schmidt was nowhere to be seen. His locker was empty.
The Dodgers wouldn’t -- or couldn’t -- say exactly what was wrong with Schmidt. Officially, the 36-year-old former All-Star was moved to the 15-day disabled list Friday because of what was called a “shoulder injury.”
Schmidt was examined by team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Thursday night and returned to his home in Arizona on Friday.
Manager Joe Torre said that Schmidt could be back when rosters expand in September but acknowledged that his long-awaited comeback might be over.
“It could be it,” Torre said.
Schmidt’s place on the active roster was taken by utility infielder Tony Abreu, who was recalled from triple-A Albuquerque. His spot in the rotation will go to left-hander Scott Elbert.
Schmidt didn’t complain of any discomfort in his shoulder Wednesday night when he was charged with four runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings against Milwaukee.
“It was after that that he felt something,” said Torre, who spoke with Schmidt on Thursday.
The start Wednesday was the fourth of the season for Schmidt, who was sidelined for more than two years because of shoulder problems.
He is 2-2 with a 5.60 earned-run average.
“I just think the fact that he was able to come back after two years and take the ball four times, that was something that he was satisfied with,” Torre said.
Another shot for Abreu
Like Schmidt’s return to the majors, Abreu’s was long and tedious.
Considered one of the top prospects in the organization, Abreu underwent a groin operation at the end of the 2007 season. He had hip surgery the next spring and sat out for all of 2008. He looked like a candidate to make the opening-day roster this spring but suffered an ankle injury.
But Abreu, 24, says he feels the long road back had hardened him.
“It’s an experience that made me stronger,” he said. “It’s changed me. I’m more patient now.”
That patience has manifested itself at the plate, where Abreu hit .342 in 37 games for Albuquerque.
“I’m calmer at the plate,” he said. “I was never a patient hitter. Now I find myself waiting more for the pitches I want to see.”
Torre said he wasn’t sure how long Abreu would stay in the majors. It might be for a few days or more. The Dodgers have to clear a roster spot for reliever Ronald Belisario.
Abreu could get a start this weekend at second or third base.
Hiroki Kuroda pushed back his bullpen session from Thursday to Friday because of soreness and had his next turn in the rotation moved from Sunday to Monday.
Elbert, who is 2-0 with a 3.77 earned-run average in eight relief appearances for the Dodgers, will start Sunday.
Orlando Hudson has a new ball to add to his trophy case: the one he hit for an infield single Thursday night for the 1,000 hit of his career.
Hudson said the ball will sit next to the ball he hit for the first and 500th hits of his career.
“It’s a great honor, man,” Hudson said. “To get 1,000 hits in the major leagues, it means I’ve been here awhile. I’ve definitely been around. I got my 1,000th hit and a lot of guys can’t say that.”
Times staff writer Kevin Baxter contributed to this report.