- Jim Caple, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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BOSTON -- So what if the hightop shoe Curt Schilling wore in a bullpen session Friday is not enough to keep his ankle stable enough to pitch again in the American League Championship Series? Here are some other possibilities the Red Sox could also consider:
1. Have him pitch from a rocking chair
"Obviously, he wouldn't be able to use a normal chair, like the one Frank Francisco threw at that fan in Oakland,'' said Dr. Phillip Chandler of the Boston Sports Medicine Clinic. "But a rocking chair would approximate the rocking motion of his normal delivery and allow him to throw with very close to his usual velocity. It's really not that crazy an idea. In fact, the Padres have already had us start working on a La-Z-Boy recliner for David Wells.
"The problem would be if anyone gets on base. It would be very difficult for Curt to use a slide step that would keep runners close to the bag and I don't think he could pitch from the stretch at all, unless they turned the rocking chair so it was facing third base.''
Cliff Clavin, the new executive librarian at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, said rocking chairs have been used successfully in the past.
"Actually, it's a little known fact that Cy Young won the final 83 games of his career while pitching from a rocking chair,'' he said. "I mean, the guy won 512 games. You think he was able to pitch that long without some sort of help?''
2. Teach him to throw left-handed
"Now, I admit, it won't be easy,'' former Red Sox bullpen coach Ernie Pantusso said. "But if he could pull it off, the arm would be very well rested. He could even pitch Game 5, 6 and 7.
"I don't know why more guys don't try it when they start getting old. Me, I would have given my right arm to be ambidextrous.''
3. Transplant a healthy right leg onto Schilling
"There's a certain amount of risk because it's an experimental procedure,'' said Dr. Donald Westphall, director of medicine at Boston's St. Eligius hospital. "On the positive side, there not only are dozens of willing donors already lined up in the Cask n' Flagon tavern across from Fenway Park, they're also passed out, so we may not even need any anesthetic.''
4. Amputate Schilling's right leg below the knee and replace it with a wooden peg fashioned from an old bat
"Yes, it sounds extreme,'' said Steve McIlvaine, director of research and development at Louisville Slugger. "And it would be a real stretch if it was his left ankle, the one he plants on during his delivery. But him being right-handed, he just needs something solid that will provide him with sufficient leverage to push off from. And the bat is ideal for that.
"Which is why we advise using a Ted Williams bat, even though those are rather expensive because of their memorabilia value. We have a bunch of Ralph Garr bats lying around the warehouse and they would work all right for bullpen sessions, but they would probably snap during actual game conditions. You need something much more substantial for a guy who throws as hard as Schilling, a real man's bat.
Far from being risky, McIlvaine says early research indicates all pitchers would benefit from the procedure.
"The only downside we see is driving a car.''
5. Have Johnny Damon lay hands and perform a miracle
"That's a great idea, except for one thing,'' Boston archbishop Father Francis Mulcahy said. "Damon needs to perform a miracle on his own bat first.''
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
10hTony Lee, Special to ESPN.com