Red Sox playing it 'safe' with Schilling, won't return before All-Star break
SEATTLE -- Curt Schilling is out through at least the All-Star break because of a sore right shoulder, and he still doesn't even know when he can begin throwing again.
The Boston Red Sox on Wednesday slowed their already deliberate determination on when their 40-year-old ace can resume pitching.
Manager Terry Francona confirmed that Schilling, who is eligible to come off the disabled list on July 4, won't be back until at least after the break ends July 11. For now, the Red Sox can afford to wait -- they entered Wednesday with a 10-game lead in the AL East.
"He can throw now, but I think they want him to reach certain levels with the testing," Francona said.
"We want him to finish the season in good condition. That's why we're trying to be safe. Sometimes it's tough to be safe."
Schilling is 6-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 15 starts this season.
Boston's baseball and medical staffs met and decided only that they would meet again on Monday. That's when they will re-evaluate if the six-time All-Star can begin a throwing program, provided his shoulder passes strength tests.
Schilling said Monday that he is doing daily conditioning, arm exercises and "a lot of sitting," adding that he felt immediate improvement from a cortisone shot last week.
It's been tough for Schilling, who expressed frustration Monday.
"I mean, they pay me to pitch and win games. And when I am not doing that, you know, it's not fun," he said. "But they have protocol."
Francona said he spoke to Schilling about the latest decision to keep his rehabilitation on hold and that the veteran agreed -- though he wasn't exactly thrilled.
Schilling had said Monday that if he got back to throwing in the next couple of days, he would likely be able to go straight back to the mound instead going through a tedious series of flat-ground sessions and rest before then building up to bullpen work.
But Monday will mark the 14th day since he allowed a season-high six earned runs in a 9-4 loss at Atlanta. He went on the DL the next day.
"Yeah, he wants to pitch yesterday, but I think he agrees," Francona said.
"He doesn't want to not be pitching. We understand that. We love it when he pitches. We just don't want him to limp home [this season]. That won't help him or us."
Red Sox pitching entered the week second in the AL in wins, ERA and runs allowed. But Boston had zero wins and 17 runs allowed in two games entering Wednesday's series finale against the Mariners.
Schilling's replacement, Kason Gabbard, walked six and allowed four runs Tuesday night in 3 1/3 innings, Boston's shortest start of the season.
All the Red Sox are saying for now is that Gabbard, called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday, will get one more start for Schilling, likely July 2 against Texas at Fenway Park.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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