Speaking on Boston sports radio station WEEI this morning, Curt Schilling said he will begin to rehabilitate his surgically repaired right shoulder, but that he is still several months away from throwing.
"If I want to pitch again I have a chance to, that's the bottom line," said Schilling.
Schilling said the Red Sox consented to his surgery. If his rehab goes as planned, he didn't close the door on a return to the Red Sox or another major league team.
"Not at all," he said when asked if he would rule out a return to the Red Sox. "I got a real clear understanding in the last 12 months of what a business this is, for better or worse ... teams make decisions that are in their best interests, and if those things don't align with what a player feels, it doesn't matter."
Schilling, who rehabbed from shoulder surgery in 1995 and 1999, said he isn't sure if a return to the major leagues will be worth the rehab effort. Calling his current pain level an "8" on a 1-to-10 scale, he said he has a lot of work to do before getting back to action. He said that the his current thought process reminds him of his 1995 surgery, and he recalled thinking back then, "I have to work my ass off to dangle my arm to the side and rotate it a little bit, how am I ever going to throw a baseball again?"
Schilling estimated he has four months of rehab before picking up a baseball, and then will decide whether he will pitch again. "I'm trying to assess if I'm going to be able to make the commitment for this to happen," he said.
He was then asked what his incentive would be to return to the mound, given his 20 years in the majors and the long road back. "It's what I do," he replied. "It's what I've done my whole life. It's what I enjoy doing."
That said, Schilling added, "If I come out of rehab and I'm throwing 84 miles per hour, it's over."
Schilling said adding a few wins to his resume to increase his Hall of Fame chances wouldn't be a reason for him to return. "I can't stress this enough," he said on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show. "It's not a relevant factor for me."
He also denied that leaving the game would create a void of competition in his life. "I can find competition in a game of Monopoly," he said.
Schilling said that if he came back, it would be to once again experience the feeling of being a big-league pitcher.
"I miss that day," he said. "That driving into the park on the day I pitch, that two or three hours before I go to the bullpen of sitting around my locker and no one really talking to me, that focusing on the lineup, and that stroll to the bullpen and that stroll to the mound. I miss that, and I'm always going to miss that. I do want to enjoy that again, but if I can't, I'm OK."
Schilling said there was extensive damage to the shoulder, and upon reviewing pictures of the surgery, he felt validated that the procedure was necessary. "I guess I was comforted by knowing it wasn't a figment of my imagination," he said. "I'm at the point where I asked for a chance to make the decision on my own, and I think I've got that."