07/09/2004 4:36 PM ET
Schilling to miss All-Star Game
Red Sox pitcher won't play because of sore ankle
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
BOSTON -- As much as Curt Schilling wanted to pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game, he didn't think it was the right thing to do. Bothered by a deep bone bruise in his right ankle for most of the season, Schilling will take advantage of the layoff provided by the All-Star break to rest and rehab the ankle so that it is as sturdy as possible for the Red Sox's stretch run.
|Curt Schilling's sore ankle will keep him out of the All-Star Game. (Elise Amendola/AP)
Red Sox manager Terry Francona -- and also Schilling -- informed the offices of Major League Baseball and American League All-Star manager Joe Torre of the right-hander's decision on Friday.
The competitor in Schilling didn't enjoy telling Torre he couldn't take the ball.
"I talked to him today, and I told Curt, because he was very reluctant to say he wasn't able to pitch, we talked and he was sort of relieved that I told him your obligation is to your team," said Torre. "He's been getting treatment on that heel just about every start. He's going to be there. He was thrilled that he was voted. He didn't want to let anybody down. I think it made him feel good that I pretty much said what he was thinking. The season is important. I know the game counts on Tuesday, but your obligation is to your team."
A replacement for Schilling is likely to be named on Saturday. Torre said that he would use the results from the player balloting as the guideline for the replacement, just as he did when Javy Vazquez replaced Tim Hudson. Sox ace Pedro Martinez was given the first option to take Hudson's spot, but he declined because he already had plans for the break.
Schilling, who is 11-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 18 starts, will attend the game with his family and soak up the festivities. This is the sixth All-Star selection of his career.
"I said when I got selected [Sunday], it's an honor and always has been," said Schilling. "It is not diminished now any more than it was the first time. It's a fun game to pitch in. It's a very different environment, a lot of adrenaline, which is probably another reason why it may be best [not to pitch]. I'm disappointed, but I'm going to go and enjoy it with my family like I always have."
Pitching through the ankle problem has been an ongoing thing for Schilling most of the season. He takes a numbing shot of Marcaine before every start, and often has a second injection in the middle innings.
His next start for the Red Sox is on July 18 at Anaheim. That means he gets a nine-day layoff between starts. Schilling took a no-decision in Boston's 10-inning victory over the A's Thursday night.
Schilling will be working with trainers from the Athletes Performance Institute during his mound layoff to strengthen the ankle as much as possible.
"With as much as work as we've put into taking the mound every fifth day and not missing a start, my first priority is and always will be the 24 teammates that I play with, the organization and the fans here," said Schilling. "This seven, eight, nine days that we can tend to this and treat it, and hopefully diminish its impact on how I pitch, we're going to do that.
"This was probably the only chance we're going to get. We're going to do a lot of things over the next nine days to try and make sure it's not a problem next half. I felt like there was an outside shot that something might happen that might affect my second half here, then we weren't gong to pitch and that's the way the medical staff assessed it."
Francona didn't want to make the decision for Schilling. He was glad the pitcher decided to take the cautious approach.
"It's just not in his best interest," said Francona. "We don't take that lightly either. I understand the responsibility of being selected, but you know what, we're pitching him fourth coming out of the gate [after the break] for a reason. I think he understands that and thankfully Joe did and it's not surprising, so he's not going to pitch."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Mark Feinsand, a reporter for MLB.com, contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.