Francona: 'Opening Day is not judgment day'

Updated: February 26, 2005, 5:49 PM ET
Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Curt Schilling made progress Saturday in his second bullpen session of spring training and still could start on Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox.

Manager Terry Francona doesn't think there's any reason to rush him.

"Opening Day is not judgment day," Francona said after Schilling's 43-pitch, 13-minute session. "I think he made progress today. He's certainly not where he wants to be for Opening Day."

Schilling underwent surgery in early November after the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees in the AL championship series and then the St. Louis Cardinals in a four-game sweep in the World Series.

He won Game 6 of the ALCS and Game 2 of the World Series after a tendon in his ankle which had been slipping out of place was sutured to his skin.

In his first bullpen session last Thursday, Schilling threw 47 pitches and said his ankle wasn't causing him pain.

"He's got some work to do," Francona said Saturday. "I guess Schill is so used to showing up and if he doesn't hit his spots, he's aggravated. Well, he's not going to hit his spots. His stride is not going to be consistent. He's got to battle through some things."

The Red Sox open the season on April 3 against the Yankees in New York.

On Saturday, Schilling walked without a limp and showed no signs of discomfort on the mound. Several times, he stopped in mid-motion as if he were analyzing his delivery. At one point he talked with Chris Correnti, the team's rehabilitation coordinator.

After his session, he and Francona talked for about five minutes behind a bullpen mound. Schilling did not talk with reporters afterward.

"Personally, seeing him on the mound I felt good because I know we have five weeks until the season," Francona said. "There were more good pitches than he made last time."

He said Schilling would play catch and long toss Sunday, take Monday off from throwing, then pitch again off a mound Tuesday. Several more bullpen sessions are planned before he throws batting practice to hitters.

David Wells, in his first season with Boston, will not pitch in any of the first seven games of the exhibition schedule, which starts next Thursday, Francona said.

"This is just the way he prefers to do it," the manager said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press