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04/15/08 8:00 PM EST

Schilling eager to start throwing

Red Sox won't rush righty until trainers give the OK sign

CLEVELAND -- Each day, Curt Schilling beats just about all of his teammates to the park. He's on a different program, one that consists of rehabbing and not competing.

There is starting to become another staple to Schilling's daily routine and that consists of the right-hander asking the training staff to take the brakes off and let him start throwing again.

Schilling remains in the dark on when he might be able to start throwing, but he hopes it will happen within "the next couple of weeks."

"I'm getting closer, obviously, because they're challenging me more, but I don't know," said Schilling. "I feel good enough to be asking them on a daily basis, so that's a good thing. But I don't know. I don't have an answer for you."

Neither does Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

"It's completely contingent on him passing those milestones," Francona said. "All I know is he's not there yet. Every day, I get a report that his strength is improving or at least when they measure it. They're just not ready. I don't think they think he's ready to do it or where he needs to be. There are certain areas that they're pretty adamant he needs to be, and he's not there yet."

The right-hander was taken by surprise when his personal physician, Dr. Craig Morgan, stated recently in radio interviews in both Boston and Philadelphia that Schilling would consider pitching for the Yankees in 2009.

Schilling vehemently denied that idea in his weekly radio spot on Tuesday morning.

"I think you guys know me well enough to know that me wearing pinstripes, regardless of what point of the season or my career it might have been, is not an option," Schilling told WEEI 850 hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. "It's not an option, never has been an option."

As the interview continued, Schilling expressed optimism with the state of his rehab program.

"From a rehab standpoint, I think I'm probably as surprised as anyone at how incredibly well it's gone and where we're at," said Schilling. "I guess you have to understand some of the shoulder program exercises, but whereas we started at two or three pounds, we're up to seven with shoulder program weights, which is a pretty big deal. Strength-wise, I've gotten incredible gains. I've showed a lot of strength gained."

Schilling also said that he is pain-free.

"The biggest surprise to me at this point would be probably that I don't have any pain at all, which is a huge change," Schilling said. "I think a couple of us at the initial time, when we decided to go down this route, expected to go down a path that would see me feel good for a couple of weeks, and at some point, the pain would return. And it hasn't."

The true test will be when Schilling throws a baseball again, something he hasn't been able to do since January, when intense pain prompted him to shut it down.

"I'm still apprehensive and nervous about making the transition from where we are to throwing and getting on the field, and that's the next, huge step," Schilling told WEEI. "I have no reason to think that won't go well based on where we're at right now."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.