Schilling, Sox agree on 'best interests'
Righty defends circumstances of signing; Henry, GM content
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Curt Schilling broke his silence on Monday morning.
The Red Sox right-hander, who is currently undergoing rehab on his right shoulder, acknowledged that he has thought long and hard about how best to handle his immediate future with the team after signing an $8 million contract on Nov. 7.
"There's a lot going through my mind," Schilling told a small gathering that included reporters from the Boston Herald, Hartford Courant, Providence Journal, NESN and WBZ-TV in Boston.
"Obviously, there have been a lot of discussions over a long period of time," he continued. "This is where we are. At the end of the day, I signed a contract with this team, so I have to abide by the rule of the [Collective Bargaining Agreement], and one of the rules is from a medical standpoint, they're allowed to dictate how and when things are supposed to happen."
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein last week acknowledged that there have been "bumps in the road" as the team and Schilling's medical advisors, led by Dr. Craig Morgan, tried to determine the best course of action. Morgan advised surgery that would put Schilling out of action for at least four months, while the team preferred strength and conditioning.
For the first time since news of Schilling's shoulder ailment broke, Red Sox principal owner John Henry spoke on Monday and confirmed Epstein's characterization.
"I think sometimes you have disagreements in different areas, and in this case, there was a disagreement in the medical area," Henry told reporters at the Red Sox's Minor League complex, adding that he is leaving all judgments for now in the hands of the club's medical staff.
"There's nothing for me to be on top of," Henry said. "This is a medical situation, and I don't get involved in those things."
While the mood between the team and Schilling has been characterized as cool, Henry maintained that the team is just doing what's right.
"He shouldn't be upset because we're trying to do what's in the best interests of Curt and the team," Henry said. "I heard the arguments and felt we were doing the right thing."
Schilling wanted to dispel any notion that he signed his contract under false pretenses.
"Let's be clear -- if some people want to believe this was me taking advantage of the situation financially, I wouldn't have done it here," Schilling said. "I would have done it in at least two other places for $14 million if I was going to sit my [butt] on the DL and collect a paycheck. I know that for a fact. People are going to believe what they believe. I was healthy at the time. I didn't feel great, but I felt like I was 40 or 41.
"I went through the physical, I had an MRI at the time as well. I did everything they asked, passed every test they asked me to take and I felt fine. If Theo tells you anything about our discussions and negotiations, I think we were both very comfortable saying I want to go out, compete, be the ace of the staff for this final year and all the things that go with that."
Henry said the team has no reason to think it was duped.
"You're not happy if one of your best pitchers can't pitch, but that happens -- injuries happen," Henry explained. "I'm not going to go down that road. I have no reason to believe, at this point, that any such thing occurred."
Schilling said he has every intention of following through on the aggressive rehab program that the team has laid out for him with the hope of returning this season.
"I have to," Schilling said. "I don't have any choice. If their course of action doesn't work, I don't pitch this year and I may never pitch again. I don't have a choice. I have to mentally get behind it and do everything I can do to make it work. It certainly isn't the best spot to be in, when you hear '5 and 10 percent' and 'never pitch again' and those things. I'm disappointed that after 21 years, my career might end like this, but it is what it is. And if I never pitch again, as disappointing as it may be, I have no regrets about everything that I've been able to experience."
While Schilling has given plenty of thought to what course of action is best, he hasn't given himself a timetable for a return.
"The best scenario for me is this works in short order, we're allowed to get after it and build up strength," Schilling said. "I can get out to throwing soon and get out there. I haven't really thought past this first stage of rehab, but I would love to be back by the All-Star break, before the All-Star break, as quickly as I can."
Epstein said last week that Schilling's strength and conditioning program will keep him out at least six to eight weeks.
"I actually reached out to Theo when the [Johan] Santana thing came out because I knew I was not in a good situation and I knew if we started to poke around medically, word might get out and I didn't know how much interest there was on our behalf," Schilling said. "I didn't want to put him in a disadvantage, a leverage situation disadvantage. So I reached out to him very quickly to [pitching coach] John Farrell and to [manager Terry Francona] and told them I was very concerned and didn't want that to mess up their discussions with the Twins."
As for the here and now, Henry is still hopeful that the club's $8 million investment will still pay dividends this season.
"I think there's a reasonably good chance, from what I've been told," Henry said. "But I'm really not the best person to ask. You should ask Theo and the medical people -- they're really more on top of it than I am."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.