BOSTON (AP) – Red Sox closer Keith Foulke threw in the bullpen Monday for the first time since knee surgery, but isn’t close to coming off the disabled list.

He plans to throw again in the bullpen before home games Wednesday night and Friday night.

“He’s missed some time. He’s had knee surgery,” manager Terry Francona said before Boston’s game against the Texas Rangers. “I think some people are getting carried away” about how soon he will return.

Foulke struggled most of the season before undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage in his left knee July 7, the day after he went on the disabled list. Curt Schilling took over as the closer July 14 and was 2-2 with nine saves in 10 chances and a 3.38 ERA in 15 games as a reliever entering Monday’s game.

Foulke was outstanding in last year’s AL championship series and World Series but is 5-5 with a 6.23 ERA and 15 saves in 19 opportunities this year.

“Foulkie went out today early and threw about 25 pitches,” Francona said. “He just got the rust off, I guess maybe check some mechanics.”

He said it was too early to discuss whether Foulke would go on a rehabilitation assignment before pitching for the Red Sox.

“He’s got to do some pitching off the mound” first, Francona said.

Trot Nixon, also on the disabled list, stood at the plate for some of those pitches.

“His velocity’s coming along. His changeup looked good,” Nixon said. “He’s building his arm back up, obviously continuing to get his confidence back up and get into that rhythm when he’s on the mound. He should be fine.”

Nixon was pleased with his own comeback from a strain in his left side that sent him to the disabled list July 27. He threw for about 10 minutes before Monday’s game and plans to hit off a tee Tuesday.

“In the words of our medical people, he’s doing very well,” Francona said. “That doesn’t mean he’s going to start playing tomorrow.”

Nixon is batting .293 with 11 homers and 50 RBIs in 89 games.

AP-ES-08-08-05 1948EDT

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