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He's all for long tossing

Schilling won't be shortchanged

Curt Schilling will be seeking to avenge his most shocking loss of the season tonight in Toronto when he starts the first of a four-game set against the Blue Jays. On April 22, Schilling was beaten, 7-3, on an eighth-inning grand slam by the Jays' No. 9 hitter, Chris Gomez, a game in which he took a 3-1 lead into the seventh. Schilling threw a season-high 123 pitches that night, and is averaging 114 pitches per start, most in the major leagues. Livan Hernandez of the Expos leads the National League with 109.38 pitches per start.

Schilling has thrown 120 pitches or more three times this season, including 120 last Saturday in his first complete game, a 9-1 defeat of the Royals at Fenway Park. His low this season is 103, on May 3 at Cleveland. In 2002 with Arizona, his last full season, Schilling ranked fourth in the NL in pitches per start with 105.86.

More Schilling numbers: The Sox righthander leads the AL in strikeouts with 53, three more than Pedro Martinez, and is second in the league with 9.29 strikeouts per nine innings (53 in 51 1/3). Nate Robertson of the Tigers leads the league with 9.82 K's per nine (40 in 36 2/3 innings). Schilling's ratio of whiffs to walks (53 to 7) is the best in the majors.

Mending ways Trot Nixon will be heading back to Fort Myers, Fla., today to continue rehabbing a strained quadriceps muscle, while Nomar Garciaparra has workouts scheduled in Fenway Park for today, tomorrow, and Sunday, at which time a decision will be made on the next step in his rehab from a strained Achilles' tendon.

The logical next step, assuming he has no setbacks, would be some form of rehab assignment, but manager Terry Francona was not willing to commit to that plan.

"The next logical step will be whatever is in his best interests," Francona said. "We could send him to Florida for a bunch of at-bats, or send him to play Triple A, but we're not there yet."

Nixon said he has lost 14 pounds since resuming workouts following treatment for a herniated disk, weighing less than he did at the end of last season.

Brown on board

Jamie Brown found a perfect spot in the Red Sox clubhouse. His locker stall is between Martinez's and Keith Foulke's.

"Those two can keep me straight," said Brown, who spent his first hours in the big leagues playing cribbage with fellow reliever Scott Williamson as new teammates came by to welcome him aboard.

Years of hopes and dreams came true for the Mississippi native yesterday when he was recalled from Triple A Pawtucket to replace Byung Hyun Kim, who was demoted Tuesday night to work on his mechanics.

It was a move Brown always hoped for, but did not expect. In fact, when told of the promotion the righthander thought it was a joke.

"[Tuesday] night, about at 11 o'clock, a buddy called me and started playing games with me," said Brown. "We had an off day [yesterday] and I was just going to spend it with my family before I go off on a road trip."

Brown was 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA in six starts with Pawtucket, walking only two batters in 38 innings and striking out 27. Brown also limited opponents to a .199 average. In his start last Saturday, he held Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to one run on two hits in a 7-1 win.

"He has the ability to throw multiple innings," said Francona. "He's been starting. His next start would have been tomorrow so he's available tonight. He's somebody we can stretch out if we need to."

Whistle stop

Applause broke out behind home plate as Bill Belichick passed along the concourse on his way to his seat, and the rest of Fenway joined in a standing ovation when the Patriots coach was shown on the video board. Belichick responded by standing and waving, but he was trumped by Kevin Millar, who tipped his helmet at home plate in mock acknowledgment of the ovation. "I said to myself, `Damn, these people love me,' " Millar said. "I did the same thing once in Florida, when they were giving Andre Dawson a standing ovation, and the guys on the team were just dying." . . . A telling stat on Martinez: On his first 15 pitches of the game, opponents are hitting .414 (12 for 29) with four home runs. The rest of the game, opponents are hitting just .209 (34 for 163) with two home runs, which could imply that Martinez is having trouble getting loose. "[Greg] Maddux went through a similar thing a couple of years ago," pitching coach Dave Wallace said, alluding to Martinez's first-inning funks. "Could be just one of those baseball aberrations. Some of it might be due to the weather earlier in the year, when he wasn't getting a feel for the ball."

Paul Harber of the Globe staff contributed to this report. 

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