Schmidt -- plagued by shoulder problems from the start of the $47 million contract he signed during the 2006 Winter Meetings -- won three games and underwent two shoulder operations in three seasons with the Dodgers.
While considering being shut down while rehabbing in Arizona in July, he instead was activated almost out of desperation as the Dodgers ran out of fifth-starter candidates. He went 2-2 in four starts with a 5.60 ERA but waved the white flag when faced with pitching in pain.
"When he left [Aug. 7], I told him he may win a game for us in September, and he sort of nodded," manager Joe Torre said. "He was probably surprised when he came back. He had a couple wins, but it's been a frustrating time for him. Even though he was a shell of what he once was, you could still see the competitiveness, even if he was searching for how to get it done."
The 36-year-old Schmidt, a three-time All-Star with the Giants, made only 10 starts for the Dodgers. He is 130-96 in his 14-year career.
In addition to the Schmidt move, the Dodgers cleared space for Padilla on the 25-man roster by optioning infielder Tony Abreu to Triple-A Albuquerque. He figures to return Tuesday when rosters are allowed to expand.
As for Padilla, Torre said he anticipated giving the newest Dodgers pitcher more than one start to show he deserves to be in the rotation. Padilla was signed last week after being released by the Texas Rangers amid complaints from the clubhouse and front office about having a bad attitude and being a headhunter.
"I don't think there's any question -- Charlie Haeger did it -- Vicente would like to be in the rotation and we'd like that to be the case," Torre said. "We don't know when we'll get [Hiroki Kuroda] back. I'm assuming [Padilla] will pitch in five days. I don't think he's start to start. We're still planning on him to pitch the next go-around.
"This time of year, we've been very lucky with our fifth spot. The numbers are pretty impressive, a lot better than you'd expect they would be."
In games started by pitchers other than Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Randy Wolf or Kuroda, the Dodgers are 20-12. That's a .625 winning percentage, a better result than when the top four start. The extra starters have been Haeger, Eric Stults, Jeff Weaver, James McDonald, Eric Milton and Schmidt.
Torre said Padilla has a "live arm" and the same would be expected of him as anyone in the rotation.
"We want him to be able to win ballgames without any distractions," Torre said.
He also said that Kuroda will throw a simulated game behind a screen Saturday. Kuroda was put on the disabled list with a concussion after getting hit on the head by a line drive.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.