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Thursday, July 26, 2007
Schilling throws five scoreless innings in second Triple-A start

Associated Press

Curt Schilling

Schilling

TOLEDO, Ohio -- Curt Schilling looked ready to step back into the Boston rotation, pitching five scoreless innings Thursday and striking out eight in his second rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket.

He'll make at least one more minor league start before returning to the Red Sox.

Schilling retired the first 14 batters he faced and gave up just two hits without a walk. He mixed his pitches well, throwing both his curveball and changeup for strikes.

It was another impressive outing for Schilling, who hasn't pitched for Boston in more than a month since he went on the disabled list on June 22 because of tendinitis in his shoulder.

Schilling was upbeat and clearly pleased with the performance, saying his splitter is as good as it has ever been.

"Most importantly I feel strong," he said. "I felt stronger as the game went on."

He struck out the first two batters he faced, hitting 93 mph on the stadium's radar gun. He consistently pitched in the low 90s throughout his five innings.

Schilling threw 44 of his 66 pitches for strikes.

Mud Hens designated hitter Brent Clevlen got the first hit in the fifth, a 400-foot double that bounced on the warning track in center field.

David Espinosa lined an infield hit that glanced off Schilling's glove. Clevlen was thrown out at home on the play, ending the inning and Schilling's night.

He walked off the field to a large ovation.

Schilling's last outing for Boston was on June 18, when he gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves.

Schilling said he's anxious to get back with Boston but understands he doesn't want to rush his return. If all goes well, he'll make one more start before being brought up.

His goal, he said, is to make sure he's pitching all the way through the World Series.

"We'll have to check back after the World Series parade," he said.

Schilling flew into Toledo on Thursday from Cleveland where the Red Sox wrapped up their series with the Indians.

Fans, some wearing Schilling jerseys, stood five rows deep alongside the bullpen while he warmed up.