Schilling's travel plans might have hindered re-debut

Just a few outings into his career as a closer, Curt Schilling is ready to start again if that's what the team wants. But manager Terry Francona isn't so sure.

"I think I can go back and start right now," Schilling told The Boston Globe. "If I had a couple starts where I throw only 100 pitches, I think I can do that. I think I'm much closer to being able to do that than I was seven days ago.

"I want to go back in the rotation as soon as I possibly can. Me going back in the rotation is not solely dependent on me. If I go back next week, I'll be ready," he said.

Despite his foot not feeling any better or worse, Schilling thinks things have changed over the past week.

"My stuff has all changed," Schilling told paper. "My sharpness, my command, that's all different. I'm definitely more confident. My stuff has come.

"The one thing I've realized is the pain I feel in the foot isn't directly related to my stuff, which I think is a very big thing. I have not, since the time I pitched against the Yankees in my first appearance, I haven't felt any better physically.

"But I've gotten better on the mound. So I think I was reading way too much into how I feel, when I probably shouldn't be," he said.

Francona is more cautious, especially with the Red Sox's bullpen short-staffed.

"I think when he says something like that it means he's feeling good pitching, which is good. We're not going to go day-to-day he's a starter, he's a reliever, he's a starter, he's a reliever," Francona told The Associated Press. "I understand the wanting of us and him to pitch and start.

"Without [Keith] Foulke, it certainly leaves a big void in the bullpen," Francona added. "It's not that [Mike] Timlin can't do it; he can. But you're robbing Peter to pay Paul. You have not only that inning [the ninth] but you have to get to that inning."

Part of the problem with Schilling's appearance against the Yankees on July 14 could be explained by Schilling's off-field agenda.

"Everybody wants to get on Bronson [Arroyo] for the things he did the night before he pitched [performing a concert July 13], but I had my family in Disney over the All-Star break for a vacation," Schilling told the Globe. "I didn't get back until Thursday morning."

Schilling's vacation was topped with an appearance at the ESPYs. Schilling and his family didn't arrive back in Boston until the morning of the game.

"I woke up when we landed, about 7:30 [a.m.]," Schilling told the paper. ''I slept most of the flight and slept when I got home, but it was probably not the optimal situation, and that's nobody's fault but my own."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.