Timlin won't pitch until after first road trip

Updated: March 21, 2007, 1:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Mike Timlin won't be the closer on Opening Day for the Red Sox.

Relief Pitcher
Boston Red Sox

Profile
2006 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L BB K ERA
68 6 6 16 30 4.36

Manager Terry Francona said Tuesday that the 41-year-old right-hander will start the season on the disabled list, but Timlin is expected to be ready to pitch after Boston's first regular-season road trip, which ends April 8.

"I don't think he was stunned," Francona told reporters, according to The Boston Globe. "I don't think he was doing cartwheels, but I also think he understood when it was explained to him. That may not be to the date, but there's some common sense in there."

Timlin has been bothered by a strained oblique muscle.

However, one of the candidates for the closer's job impressed Francona on Tuesday.

Joel Pineiro got his first save in his effort to lock up the vacant closer's role.

"The ball is live, it's got some sink to it, got some tilt on his breaking ball," Francona said. "I'm encouraged."

In the interim, right-handers Pineiro, Brendan Donnelly and Julian Tavarez are being considered to close games.

"Those are still the guys we're strongly looking at," Boston pitching coach John Farrell told ESPN during Wednesday's Red Sox-Pirates telecast.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.