Nick Carfado of the Boston Globe reported today that the Red Sox do not expect Curt Schilling to be ready for the start of Spring Training. Details are vague, but the problem is reportedly related to the shoulder tendinitis Curt suffered from last season.
On June 22nd of last season, Schill was placed on the DL following a horrific outing against the Atlanta Braves in which he allowed 6 runs and 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings. More importantly, his fastball rarely registered over the low 80's.Schilling recently went to visit Dr. Craig Morgan, the doctor who performed Schill's 1995 shoulder surgery.
If Curt isn't ready to begin the season in the rotation, the obvious candidate to take his place is another Mr. No-No, Clay Buchholz. Of course, you never know with the Sox; Theo and Tito may elect to give Joo-lian Tavarez a few nods. The results of Spring Training will prove to be the deciding factor.
Schilling turned 41 in November and flatly stated that this will be his final year.
[Updated by SoxDevil 2/8/08]:
Based on the accounts of several inside sources, Curt Schilling's injury is believed to be a partial tear of his rotator cuff, something that Curt adamantly denies on his blog, 38pitches.com. It was also insinuated by Boston media outlets that the aforementioned Dr. Craig Morgan recommended surgery to repair the injury. In fairness, here's Curt's response to all the rumor-mongering:
--Curt Schilling, as posted on 38pitches.com
Regardless, Schilling will follow a conservative course of rest and rehab prescribed by Red Sox medical director Thomas Gill after the Curt and the club agreed to submit to a recommendation by an outside medical expert brought in for an impartial opinion.
Even without surgery, the 41-year-old Schilling is not expected to be in game-ready condition until around the All-Star break, according to the Boston Globe's sources. The Globe also reported that the Red Sox raised the possibility that Schilling would forfeit his contract if he proceeded to have surgery without their permission, and that the dispute has led to strained feelings between Curt and the club.
He-said, she-said aside, the upshot of this development is that it looks like our rotation is one short through July. Whom to the Red Sox turn to?
There has been discussion here on Over the Monster that the Sox might try to trade Coco Crisp for Joe Blanton, or the Sox may simply leverage their pitching depth and call on Julian Tavarez, Clay Buchholz, and a variety of others to throw 50-100 innings.
Based on what I've seen from the Red Sox in the past, I anticipate that they'll go with a free agent, veteran innings-eater or turn to Joo-lian Tavarez rather than trade for a mediocre pitcher or deviate from their development plan for the young guns down on the farm. Either way, it looks like we have a new subject of debate for the next several weeks.