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Notes: Schilling for Game 610/18/2004 3:19 AM ET
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Beyond the obvious inspiration of trying to keep their season alive, the Red Sox will have an added benefit if they can get a Game 5 victory out of Pedro Martinez on Monday.
The team's other ace -- right-hander Curt Schilling -- is now ready to pitch again. If there is a Game 6 on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, Schilling will be on the mound.
His right ankle -- which hindered him badly in a Game 1 loss and will require surgery at the end of the season -- has improved enough that he has been cleared to resume pitching as long as the Sox get him the chance.
For the second time in three days, Schilling threw a side session in the bullpen. His ailing right ankle was supported again by a new high-top sneaker that Reebok delivered to him.
"He looked good, considering the circumstances," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.
Red Sox team doctor Bill Morgan monitored the session in the bullpen, along with Epstein, Francona and members of the training staff.
"He looked pretty confident today," said Morgan.
Schilling has a loose tendon in his ankle, which is being caused by a torn sheath. As soon as Boston's season is over, the right-hander will have surgery.
Before the Sox went on to a dramatic victory in Game 4, Epstein said that he didn't think the status of Schilling's ankle has had a profound impact on the series thus far.
"It didn't take the steam out of our approach to the series," said Epstein. "We just haven't gotten it done."
Cabrera up, Bellhorn down: Francona made a significant lineup switch for Game 4, moving slumping second baseman Mark Bellhorn from second to ninth. Orlando Cabrera, who had three hits in Game 3, went from ninth to second.
"We're just trying to take a little heat off Bellhorn," said Francona. "Cabrera swung the bat so well [Saturday night], maybe we can use that to our advantage."
The move didn't do much for either player. Cabrera went 1-for-6 while Bellhorn was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.
Sticking with Millar: With ground-ball specialist Derek Lowe on the hill for the Sox, Francona contemplated putting slick-fielding first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz into the lineup in place of Kevin Millar, who hit .154 with two RBIs over the first three games.
"I wrestled with Mientkiewicz a lot," said Francona. "I talked to the staff a lot. We've gone with these guys the whole way. I'm just not sure putting a guy in right now ... I'm not sure I have all the correct answers. So far I haven't. But we ended up coming up with what we thought was the right thing to do tonight."
Millar went 1-for-2 with two walks.
Selfless act: If Francona saw one thing to smile about from the Game 3 disaster, it was veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield again proving what an unselfish player he is. Wakefield was supposed to start Game 4, but instead volunteered to help rescue the pitching staff during Saturday's 19-8 loss.
"When you're in my shoes or [pitching coach Dave Wallace's] shoes, it makes you pretty proud," said Francona. "And I made sure he knew I felt that way. I hope we get to play long enough where he gets to pitch again because when you're coaching or managing and you have players like that, even under circumstances like last night, it makes you very proud."
Epstein staying confident: In the hours leading up to Game 4, it was clear that Epstein had put Game 3 in his rearview mirror. Instead, he was focused on his team's challenge of trying to get back into the series.
"We don't really have time to be stunned or shocked if we want to win this series," said Epstein. "When we're done playing, hopefully at the very end of October, there'll be plenty of time to look back. But the only thing that matters now is finding a way to win a game.
"In my mind, these are two great teams going at it at the most important time of the year and one team has found the ability to raise its level of play even beyond what they've done before and one team hasn't. Unless we find that ability to raise our level of play, we'll be going home. It's all about finding that inside of us right now."
They did just that in Game 4.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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