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Red Sox pleased with progress by Miller, Schilling

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Curt Schilling felt fine one day after
throwing off a mound for the first time since his November ankle
surgery.

Schilling, who had the torn sheath that surrounds his right
ankle tendon repaired, threw 47 pitches on Thursday and is to throw
off a mound again on Saturday. Manager Terry Francona said
Schilling felt "no ill effects.''

Wade Miller, signed as a free agent during the
offseason, threw 180-foot tosses for the second day in a row,
putting him ahead of his manager's expectations.

"He's pushing getting to the mound,'' Francona said. "I don't
think any of us quite thought he'd be ready to do that yet.''

Miller, who has spent all six of his major league seasons with
Houston, missed about half of last year with a frayed right rotator
cuff and didn't throw off a mound at all during the offseason.

"He's doing so well,'' Francona said. "We'll let him bounce
back tomorrow, see where he's at. He might go back and long toss
one more time. He may not. We just don't know. It will not be a
setback if he's not on the mound. We just don't know quite what we
think is in his best interest yet.''

Miller has been working out in Fort Myers since the beginning of
the month. Francona said the difference is "night and day,''
compared to where he was when the manager came to town on Feb. 11.

"I think he is buying into the program that's going to
strengthen his arm and get him where he needs to be,'' Francona
said.

The Red Sox had a short practice Friday, taking batting practice
indoors and reviewing hitting signs because of a morning rainstorm.
Many players left the minor league complex just after noon to
attend a charity golf event.