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Red Sox's Foulke shut down for season

9/23/2005 - MLB Keith Foulke Boston Red Sox + more

BALTIMORE -- Boston Red Sox closer Keith Foulke is done for
the year, victimized by two painful knees that limited his
effectiveness for the defending World Series champions.

While Foulke had his knees examined in Arizona on Friday, the
Red Sox prepared to finish the season without him.

"The signs are pointing to that he may not pitch again,"
manager Terry Francona said before Boston's game against the
Baltimore Orioles. "We will certainly go through hoops to see what
we can do."

Foulke preserved all four victories in the World Series sweep of
the St. Louis Cardinals last year, but this year he's 5-5 with a
5.91 ERA and four blown saves.

The right-hander had arthroscopic surgery on July 7 to repair
cartilage in his left knee. He missed two months while recovering,
and hasn't pitched in a save situation since returning from the
disabled list Sept. 1.

"In all reality I probably wasn't going to be able to help the
team win this year anyway with the lack of pitching, not feeling
100 percent. We just tried to make a decision where I'll be ready
to go in '06," Foulke said on his weekly radio appearance on
WEEI-AM in Boston, according to a transcript of the interview
posted on The Boston Globe's Web site.

Francona said he spoke with Foulke, who told the manager that he
wouldn't be able to return to the form he displayed last season,
when had a 2.17 ERA and 32 saves.

"He acknowledged that to me," Francona said. "He was great.
He said, 'I know what you're trying to do and I appreciate it, but
it's hard for me to get sharp. I got to throw and I know I
can't.'"

Francona will use Mike Timlin in the closer's role but will also
rely on Jonathan Papelbon and will also use rookie Chris Hansen in
the late innings.

"It's a little bit of a guessing game when you are using an
unknown," Francona said. "I love his stuff. It's going to depend
on the situation. So many variables."

Timlin was 7-3 with a 2.26 ERA and nine saves entering Friday's
game.

"It won't really change anything I do. I was just kind of the
bridge to the end of the season anyway," Timlin said. "But it
won't be easy losing a talented relief pitcher like that."

It's been a difficult season for Foulke, whose struggle on
the mound this season have been coupled with a personal problem he
has alluded to but not described.

"My feeling on this whole season is it's almost a relief now
that it's over," he said. "The last year of my life has pretty
much been the worst year of my life, off the field, on the field.
It's one of those deals that I'm glad it's over."