Schilling takes big step in rehab stint

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BOSTON (AP) – Red Sox righty Curt Schilling threw 31 pitches in a two-inning simulated game Monday and pronounced himself ready to take the next step in his rehabilitation from shoulder tendinitis.

“I feel good,” he said before Boston’s game against the Kansas City Royals. “Hopefully, I’ll be better than I was at any point in the season. … There’s no comparison. I was throwing 84 mph in Atlanta, so there were obviously some issues.”

The 40-year-old Schilling will throw about 45 pitches or three innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. He is then scheduled to travel with the PawSox when they play in Toledo five days later.

“I’m trying to get them to let me pitch as soon as possible,” he said. “This is the part where we’re going to start butting heads.”

Schilling faced Alex Cora, Doug Mirabelli, Eric Hinske and Wily Mo Pena from the Fenway mound before batting practice. Other players and coaches watched, with pitcher Josh Beckett standing on the back of the batting cage and signaling balls and strikes – mostly strikes.

When Schilling struck out Pena, the last batter, he walked off the mound with a big smile.

“My arm doesn’t feel anything like it did at any point in the season, so I take that as a good thing,” Schilling said. “My goal is to come back, to win a lot of games between now and the end of the World Series.”

Schilling was one out away from a no-hitter against Oakland on June 7, but he allowed 11 earned runs over 9 1-3 innings in his next two starts. With the Red Sox sitting on a double-digit lead in the AL East, they put him on the disabled list went June 22 to settle his shoulder down.

“He pitched some pretty good games this year,” manager Terry Francona said. “He just wasn’t bouncing back the way we needed him to.”

In all, Schilling is 6-4 with a 4.20 ERA. Francona said the team was being cautious, and Schilling seemed to understand that it doesn’t make sense to rush things.

“Considering what’s gone into this to get him back here, that wouldn’t make much sense,” Francona said.

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