Francona: 'If it's Oct. 5, we let him pitch Saturday'
CLEVELAND -- Curt Schilling was lobbying to speed up his rehabilitation following a simulated start Monday.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that's a good sign but it won't persuade anyone in the organization to hurry things along.
Schilling threw 65 pitches from the Jacobs Field mound and said his velocity and command are improving. He took some fielding practice and had no problems with the right ankle that has kept him on the disabled list since April 24.
"I wasn't thinking about the ankle when I was throwing. I was thinking about pitching," Schilling said. "It's been a long time since I've done that."
Schilling will throw another session Friday in Philadelphia, increasing the pitch count to 85-90.
He did back off a statement he made last week that his goal was to return by the All-Star break.
"I've got to throw Friday," he said. "It's not my timetable to make."
However, Schilling did try to convince Francona and the team's trainers to accelerate his rehab.
"When he starts politicking to pitch that's good," Francona said.
Francona said Schilling made a good case, but the team wants to play it safe and allow him to take things slowly.
"If it's Oct. 5, we let him pitch Saturday. This isn't," Francona said. "We need him to come back and have a chance to be the type of pitcher he can be."
Schilling is expected to make at least two minor-league rehab starts before he returns to the rotation.
He injured a tendon in his ankle near the end of last regular season and struggled in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series against New York. The ankle was stitched up to keep the tendon in place and he started Game 6.
The procedure was repeated before Game 2 of the World Series, where Boston swept St. Louis in four games.
Schilling's current injury is a bone bruise in the same ankle. He had offseason surgery and missed Opening Day. After three poor starts, he went on the disabled list.
Francona said it was good to see Schilling back in form Monday.
"I did not think it could have gone better today," Francona said. "He could have gone out and got people out today."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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