Schmidt makes first appearance since October

Updated: April 17, 2004, 1:31 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants activated right-hander Jason Schmidt from the 15-day disabled list to make his first start of the season Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Schmidt, who led the National League in ERA last season, made his first appearance since undergoing surgery in October to remove scar tissue and repair a tendon in his right elbow. To make room for Schmidt, the Giants optioned left-hander Kevin Walker to Triple-A Fresno.

Schmidt hoped to be ready for the opener, but he started to feel shoulder stiffness near the end of the spring and started the season on the DL. The Giants determined that he was compensating for the elbow by putting too much strain on his shoulder.

Schmidt went 17-5 with a 2.34 ERA last season and made his first All-Star team.

Walker made five appearances before being sent down, allowing three hits and three runs in 1 2/3 innings.

"He needs to pitch," manager Felipe Alou said. "He has good velocity and good break to his slider. But it's not there yet. It's not under control."

The Giants also said left-hander Scott Eyre would begin a rehabilitation assignment at Fresno on Friday night. Eyre was sidelined late in spring training with a back injury.

San Francisco second baseman Ray Durham was held out of the lineup for the second straight game. Durham left in the first inning against Milwaukee on Tuesday night with a mild strain of his left quadriceps.

"Tomorrow we hope maybe he can pinch-hit," Alou said. "The other day he was not even available to pinch-hit. "(Pitcher Brett) Tomko was my next hitter."

Neifi Perez took Durham's place as the leadoff hitter and rookie Cody Ransom played second base and batted eighth.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press