Schilling throws off mound for first time since going on DL

BOSTON -- Red Sox right-hander Curt Schilling took a significant step in his effort to return from an injured right shoulder when he threw 25 pitches off a bullpen mound at Fenway Park.

The session Wednesday was the first time Schilling had thrown off a mound since he was placed on the 60-day disabled list during spring training.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Schilling's sole complaint was that only 22 of the 25 pitches were strikes.

"He was excited, justifiably excited," Francona said. "When he starts talking about hitters and 'I'm going to do this,' then he's feeling good about himself and that's exciting for us."

Francona said the 41-year-old veteran will head back to the mound Friday planning to throw 35 pitches.

Schilling signed a one-year, $8 million, incentive-laden contract with the Red Sox last Nov. 8 before being diagnosed with right shoulder weakness.

He decided against surgery and has been steadily building toward throwing off a mound in the weeks prior to the first formal session, including shoulder and arm exercises.

"As it was with his throwing program earlier, it got lengthened out and the distance got longer," Francona said. "Now, off the mound, it'll become a little bit more, each time hopefully, a little bit more energy and a little bit more aggression."