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Marc 07-07-2005 07:14 PM

Curt Schilling a closer?

Schilling Will Head to Bullpen for Now

Jul 6, 2:51 PM (ET)


BOSTON (AP) - With their closer struggling and their ace at partial strength, the Boston Red Sox are sending Curt Schilling to the bullpen to plug a gap there and help him work his way back from an ankle injury.

"It's definitely the best thing for him," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said Wednesday, " ... and it just so happens to be exactly what the team needs right now."

Schilling has been on a minor-league rehab assignment while trying to recover from a right ankle injury that put him on the disabled list after just three starts. In what was expected to be his last rehab appearance, he struggled to get through five innings with Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday.

Now this is something I didn't see coming. I guess you can compare it to John Smoltz' stint as a successful closer, but it's obviously just to work him back into a starting ace gradually. Good move, bad move?

davematthews3 07-07-2005 07:23 PM

Great move. He has said himself he is having maintaing his delivery over 100 pitches but he will be fine for an inning I think the redsox now have the most unhittable closer in baseball. He definatly has the mindset to do it.

doublee 07-07-2005 08:48 PM

I have a question though. Who on Boston even said he was going to be closing games? Everything I have read from Francona and Epstein says he is just going to the bullpen not filling Foulke's spot as closer. It is funny how the media draws this conclusion without anyone from the Sox management saying anything other then he will be pitching in the pen for a few weeks until he gets his strength back. Don't be surprised if Timlin continues to close games for the Sox.

catman 07-07-2005 09:11 PM

I think Schilling could be a great closer. It is a job he did before picking up a total of 13 saves over 3 seasons before he became a full-time starter.
I agree with Johnny Damon's concerns about how much time it takes him to get ready, but once he is ready to pitch, he could do a great job.

doublee 07-07-2005 09:31 PM

My thing is if you think Foulke is going to be out for an extended amount of time it makes more sense to go with a guy like Timlin. Schilling is not going to settle for coming out of the pen the rest of the year and once he feels good, probably two or three weeks, he is going to be pushing to get back in the rotation.

Mclaren208 07-08-2005 12:33 AM

It's a horrible idea. Boston needs starting pitching, and reducing a talented pitcher from 200 innings to 80 isn't a good idea. Just let Timlin do it. His value as a starter is above and away more valuable than a closer.

Noon 07-08-2005 12:45 AM

As much as I dislike doing it, I agree with Mclaren. A guy who can consistantly give you seven innings and a win every five days is more valuable than a guy who will only pitch one inning 3-5 times a week.

It may not seem like it, but it's much harder to find a top-notch starter than it is a top-notch closer.

davematthews3 07-08-2005 12:50 AM


Originally posted by Noon

It may not seem like it, but it's much harder to find a top-notch starter than it is a top-notch closer.

What there are only about 5 to ten top notch closers while almost every team minus a few have a top notch pitcher some teams more then one.

soxfan 07-08-2005 10:57 AM

I'm OK with this as an interim thing, but I hope it doesn't last too long. I was looking forward to Schilling stabilizing the rotation, not the bullpen.

Mclaren208 07-08-2005 12:11 PM


Originally posted by davematthews3
What there are only about 5 to ten top notch closers while almost every team minus a few have a top notch pitcher some teams more then one.
Who will replace Schilling then? Or is he doing this to rehab his ankle? Any team would rather have a talented pitcher start if he can then close.

Alex 07-08-2005 01:18 PM

Foulke is out 4-6 weeks and wasn't very effective so far this season. If Boston is able to continue winning with the starting rotation that they have, I would bet that Schilling will stay in the bullpen as closer.

catman 07-08-2005 06:10 PM

There is one thing that many have not considered. Curt Schilling could come in, throw his inning or so of relief nearly every night and put a lot less stress on his ankle than starting does. He can replicate the same motion 20+ times a game easier than 125+.
Physically, I think this move is a great one for Curt. When his ankle is healthy, he can move back into the rotation (probably not until next season).

blackdogsong 07-08-2005 06:47 PM

it's a good move to get Curt back to 100%, but if he isn't good to go to start come playoff time the whole thing won't matter because the Sox can't win it with him not being the ace.

doublee 07-08-2005 07:11 PM

I was of the impression they were doing this to get his arm strength and stamina back up to snuff. I don't think this has anything to do with the status of his ankle. I doubt he would be making rehab performances if the doctors did not think his ankle could stand up to pitching full time again.

Mclaren208 07-08-2005 11:06 PM

It's good for him physically, but for the team it would kill them (if he closes full time, which he won't.)

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