Schilling may be out for rest of postseason

Red Sox hold out hope

ankle injury to require surgery after season

ALCS notebook


October 14, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - An ankle injury could prevent Curt Schilling from throwing another pitch this postseason, the Boston Red Sox announced yesterday, one day after Schilling was shelled in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.

A tendon in Schilling's right ankle has torn away from the sheath that holds it in place, and the Red Sox were unsuccessful, they said, in their attempt to construct a brace for Game 1 that would hold that tendon in place.

So Schilling's loose tendon was shifting from the front of his ankle to the back of his ankle on Tuesday night, as he gave up six runs in three innings in a 10-7 loss to the New York Yankees.

The Red Sox went back to the drawing board yesterday, looking for ways to keep that tendon in place, in hopes that Schilling can make his scheduled Game 5 start on Sunday.

"If we can get Curt to the point where he can have normal mechanics - and that's our goal - then he'll be out there," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "But we won't compromise the team by sending out a Curt Schilling who won't be effective, and we won't sacrifice Curt's long-term health, either."

Red Sox team physician Dr. William Morgan said Schilling's ankle will require surgery after the season, either way, and with a three-month recovery time, he would be ready to pitch in spring training.

Morgan said there is no danger of Schilling making the ankle worse by pitching on it, but Epstein mentioned the concern that Schilling could hurt his pitching arm if the mechanics of his motion aren't sound.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona declined to say who would take Schilling's place if he can't pitch, but it's assumed he'll turn to Derek Lowe. For now, Boston is scheduled to use Bronson Arroyo in Game 3 and Tim Wakefield in Game 4.

"If we have to make adjustments along the way, we won't be the first team to have to do that," Francona said. "I think we're in good shape to be able to make adjustments."

Schilling first tweaked the ankle against the Orioles on Sept. 21. The Red Sox diagnosed him with tendinitis, but he aggravated the injury in his Game 1 victory over the Anaheim Angels in the AL Division Series.

A normal patient with the same injury would probably be immobilized in a cast, Morgan said. But for Schilling, the Red Sox tried constructing a brace and taping technique to hold the tendon in its original place on the back of the ankle.

Schilling tried it in a bullpen session Sunday, and it worked fine. But in Game 1, he began experiencing problems. To numb the pain, he also received a shot of an anesthetic called marcaine.

"Under game conditions," Epstein said, "when you're giving 100 percent, the tendon began to sublux, and Curt's delivery was altered, and that's why he was ineffective, and that's why we got him out of the game."

The Red Sox plan to alter the brace and taping technique to hold the tendon on the front of the ankle.

"We are relatively optimistic," Morgan said. "The problem was that [the tendon] is snapping back and forth from the groove. We have already failed to keep it where it is, so we are going to attempt to keep it where it will be fine."

Around the horn

The Yankees have yet to name their Game 4 starter, but manager Joe Torre is still leaning toward Orlando Hernandez, who is questionable because of a tired right shoulder. ... Game 1 of the ALCS drew a 10 national rating and 16 share (15 million viewers), making it the highest-rated, nine-inning LCS game since Game 1 of the 2000 NLCS between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves, according to Nielsen Media Research.

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