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Whiffs of success for Schilling

He's dazzling in second rehab start

TOLEDO, Ohio -- Curt Schilling put his right arm through a battery of tests last night during his second rehab assignment with the Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox.

The Red Sox ace consistently threw pitches in the low 90s on the radar gun, facing two-time defending International League champion Toledo before a sellout of 10,300 at Fifth Third Field.

Outside of allowing a two-out double to deep center and a soft single off his glove, Schilling's work over five innings left the 40-year-old righthander smiling.

Schilling retired the first 14 batters and struck out eight of 16 without allowing a walk. He threw 44 strikes in 66 pitches and limited the Mud Hens to a pair of hits before departing with the PawSox leading, 1-0.

The Mud Hens won, 3-2, in 10 innings.

"I felt stronger as the game went on," said Schilling, who had his right arm wrapped in ice.

Schilling, placed on the disabled list June 22 with tendinitis in his right shoulder, will make one more rehab start -- Tuesday at Columbus -- before rejoining his Boston teammates.

Yet, he appeared ready to start for the big club based on last night's performance.

"Most importantly, I feel strong," he said. "My splitter, I feel, is as good as I think it has ever been."

Schilling was expected to pitch five innings or throw 60-65 pitches. He went into the fifth inning with a no-hitter. However, after catching a soft liner back to the mound by Jack Hannahan and striking out Chris Shelton, Schilling was touched for back-to-back hits before getting out of the inning.

Brent Clevlen tagged a 2-and-2 pitch to deep center that bounced on the warning track for a double. David Espinosa followed with a chopper to the right side of the mound that ricocheted off Schilling's glove, allowing Espinosa to reach safely. However, Clevlen tried to score from second on the bang-bang play, and was thrown out at home by first baseman Jeff Bailey to end the inning.

"That was a nice play," Schilling said. "In a 1-0 game, that was a big play."

The outing was Schilling's second rehab start since he was placed on the disabled list. His first start was Saturday against Louisville, in which he pitched three scoreless inning, striking out six.

He continued against Toledo where he left off against Louisville. He was in command, striking out the first two batters he faced. Toledo leadoff hitter Andres Torres went down swinging before Henry Mateo watched a third strike for the second out. Timo Perez flew to center for the final out of the first inning.

In the second, Schilling worked in some offspeed pitches with his fastball, leaving the Mud Hens guessing. After Hannahan and Shelton grounded out, Clevlen became Schilling's third strikeout victim, chasing a changeup.

Schilling struck out two batters in the third and fourth innings before taking his no-hit effort into the fifth.

Schilling, who criticized Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Jose Canseco during an appearance Tuesday on HBO's "Costas Now," opted not to comment about his statements.

Nick Cafardo of the Globe staff contributed to this report from Cleveland.

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