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Standard soreness for Schilling

BOSTON -- Red Sox ace Curt Schilling's right ankle was
nothing worse than sore on Saturday, a day after he tested it with
hopes of returning to the Boston rotation before the end of the
playoffs.

"I think he's having the usual after-throwing soreness. Nothing
more and not much less," Boston manager Terry Francona said before
Game 3 of the AL championship series against the New York Yankees.

"I think probably what I said yesterday still stands: We have not
closed the door on his season. But that's about where we're at."

Schilling, who led the major leagues with 21 wins, lasted just
three innings and 58 pitches while allowing six runs in Boston's
10-7 loss in Tuesday night's series opener. It was his poorest
postseason performance since 1993.

He felt a lot better Friday than he had a couple of days before
and was encouraged, he said in an interview with Fox television.

"We're going as hard as we can this weekend to make it as good
as it can be," he said, "and if I can take the ball again this
series, I absolutely will."

Red Sox doctors said the sheath that covers two tendons in
Schilling's right ankle is torn, allowing one of the tendons to
slip out of its groove and rub against a bone. Schilling wasn't
uncomfortable while pitching Tuesday because he was injected with a
painkiller, but he wasn't able to push off the mound with his right
leg, costing him velocity.

"It's hard, emotionally and on a personal level, but this is a
lot bigger than just me," he said in the interview. "The focus
needs to be on us performing, us hitting and us trying to beat"
the Yankees.

He had been scheduled to start Game 5, but the Red Sox are
hoping that he will be able to return in time for a possible Game 7
at Yankee Stadium. New York took a 2-0 series lead into Game 3.

"I think he's obviously very hungry to pitch," Francona said.
"He looked forward to this possible matchup as far back as
Thanksgiving last year, and when he went out there and was kind of
not able to pitch like he wanted to I'm sure that was very tough
for him and us, too.

"I think he kind of feels like we do; that this door isn't
closed. And until it does, you keep the hope and faith and try to
work hard and do what you're supposed to do, and we'll kind of see
how it goes. ... If he can pitch without endangering himself and he
can also be productive, you know, we would like to send him out
there, but only under those circumstances."

Schilling threw from a mound for about 15 minutes on Friday
switching from a high-top cleat specially made for him to a low-top
that fit better. The Red Sox were hoping to have the right size
shoe for him for his next workout.

"I don't know if the shoe got in or not yet. I hope," Francona
said before the game. "For all of the publicity they are getting,
they ought to be able to get the right size."