Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling spoke with Boston sports radio WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan this morning (Schilling will continue to join them each Tuesday during the season). Excerpts follow below:
Curt Schilling (approximately 7:40 am MST) outside of Phoenix by telephone: (Doing) good. I just dropped my kids off and am headed into API (Athletes Performance Institute in Tempe, Ariz.).
|Curt Schilling and his wife, Shonda Schilling, dropped the ceremonial first puck at the Coyotes game on Sunday, Jan. 8 at Glendale Arena in Phoenix. (Phoenix Coyotes Photo / Norm Hall)|
“I woke up and my foot was normal”
JD: Twenty-six days until pitchers and catchers, how’s your schedule going?
CS: Holy crap… I swear the first day of spring is like Christmas, it seems like it’s forever away and then the next day it’s on top of you. This winter’s gone by so fast. And it’s been so hectic and so busy but I’m excited. I’m nervous, I’m excited, a lot of things to hopefully make up for on a personal level and on a team level coming into this season.
JD: How’s your offseason has gone in terms of getting back to where you want to be?
CS: Fantastic. About 14-17 days ago, I woke up and my foot was normal… going through workouts and doing the stuff I’m doing here, and I don’t know what the combination was but it feels right again, it feels normal, it feels like it’s always felt … I have some aches and pains early in the morning but it’s felt normal for the first time in a long, long time.
Noticed a change three weeks ago
JD: Were your workouts designed to get your foot back in order or were they just the usual routine preseason baseball workouts that you’ve always done?
CS: Much more of the normal routine than anything. I started about three weeks earlier this year, real early December and we’ve been going since then. I don’t know what it was but I really noticed it more throwing than anything. This winter I’m throwing with (Giants pitcher) Jason Schmidt out here in Phoenix on the program that I’ve had for about 10 years now. I just started noticing everything changing about three weeks ago.
The shape of things to come
Gerry Callahan: Hey, the picture of you and Shonda dropping the puck at the Coyotes game made the rounds and you look pretty slim in that shot… for you pretty slim. How much weight have you lost?
CS: I don’t know; a couple of pounds. I definitely, being able to run, and being able to move extensively to do workouts has changed my body comp dramatically in the last month, month and a half, and that’s something I haven’t been able to do for almost a year so I knew that was going to have a dramatic impact on how I felt, how my foot felt, how my body felt going into spring training.
On Theo and the front office saga
GC: What do you think … of what’s happening upstairs [with the Red Sox unsettled front office situation]?
CS: Was I telling the truth [when I spoke to Dennis and Callahan about what was happening at the time Theo left]? It’s one of those things where if you had gone to sleep, or been in a coma eight weeks, 10 weeks, and woke up you’d think nothing was different other than a couple of players had left.
Theo’s back. That’s all I care about. That’s all any of the players care about. I would like to think that he’s back and probably with a little bit more … he’s in more of a situation that he wanted when he left.
I laughed at all the people that are up in arms, and calling him out that he’s somehow lost some of his integrity or whatever they wanted to call it by doing what he did, but the way I look at it is, there were a lot of issues that were unresolved that he felt he wasn’t going to compromise some things and be here, and those things changed over the last 10 weeks. And they changed, and he came back.
GC: Why does it matter to you?
CS: Because of the kind of person that he is, the confidence that I have in him. I’ve been in situations as a player in the past where a lot of guys won’t say anything, but I’ve always felt like … if I personally expect myself to give the team everything that they expect from me and I expect from myself every day to go out there and win, then I expect the same commitment from the people in the front office and Theo’s one of the few people I’ve ever run into where I know there’s not a minute that goes by in the day that he isn’t trying to make the team better, trying to do something to give this team a chance to win a championship and that’s all you can ask for. Once again we’re going to spring training with a team that can go to the World Series and as a player; it’s up to me now. It’s up to me and the 24 other guys that head north. It’s up to us to win a world championship.
It certainly is a different team. It’s going to be tremendously different team chemistry wise and I’m not really sure that’s going to end up being a bad thing.
Bullish on Beckett
JD: Talking about the specifics of the new additions. Is the physical risk of acquiring Josh Beckett worth the physical upside of having this guy if he is healthy on this roster?
CS: I’m biased I know but you’re talking about one of the top five arms in the game and that to me is huge. Obviously I don’t know the physical situation so I can’t comment to that but this kid is the future… he’s the kind of guy there’s a plaque in Cooperstown waiting for him if he stays healthy for 10-12 years. There’s obviously some corners to turn for him because you look at him and you see 20-win stuff but you haven’t seen a 20-win season yet. That comes with maturity. He’s obviously gotten that. He’s a big game pitcher. He’s proven that. I think, to me, once you prove that you can do what you do in a big game, to that extent, then there’s no excuse not to finish the rest out. Some guys it takes longer than others but I totally expect that kid to come in here and win a lot of games this year and I’m looking forward to having him.
Here’s looking at new
JD: Which new teammate jumps out at you and excites you knowing he’s going to be a Red Sox?
CS: Obviously the two that I know the best, Mike Lowell and Mark Loretta, could not find two more quality human beings. I’ve never heard a bad word said about either one of those guys. In this day and age, that’s rare. Those guys, I fully expect Mike Lowell, given what I know about what happened to him last year, to have a Mike Lowell-type season this year.
Mark Loretta is a guy that fits right in with the philosophy here. He’s an impossible out. He makes productive outs when he does make outs. Fantastic ballplayer that’s exciting, but I think I look at it more as a whole…
Those two guys are what you call professional players on and off the field. They handle themselves in both places. They’re both fantastic people and they can play the game. Boston is merciless if you suck and I don’t see any of the guys coming in here as being guys that are going to suck.
More Papelbon, please
CS: I think our pitching staff is phenomenally deep. Very, very strong with a ton of power arms in the bullpen because I kept hearing last year going into this potentially that Jon Papelbon would be in the bullpen and I kind of chuckle at that because the thought of making him a reliever right now makes me sick to my stomach. He’s a power arm and he’s a legit potential No. 1, 2 starter type guy and I don’t think you get near the value of his worth out of 60 innings instead of 200. And he’s a guy that… I look at guys on potential best days, and Jon’s potential best day is a no-hitter in a start. Any time a guy has that kind of stuff, you’ve got to run him out there 30 times.
His take on Foulke
CS: Foulkie’s probably in the best shape he’s ever been in. It’s exciting … I know that Keith has worked his butt off this winter and is as intent as I am on making last year a very distant memory. You can’t do it in one game. You can’t do it in one inning, but I think we both went into this winter feeling real sour about what we did last year and how we did it and hopefully that will read through real fast this year.
… No reason for me not to [expect 30-40 saves out of Keith Foulke]. From everything I’ve heard from people that have talked to him, he is in the best shape he’s been in in four, five years so I see no reason why he doesn’t walk in here and have the same season he had in 2004.
World Baseball Classic comments
GC: Did you give a thought to the World Baseball championships? Do you think it’s a big risk for any pitcher to go out and play?
CS: I was asked last spring and had some discussions on it and it took me about four to five seconds to realize that it would be an absolute disaster for me as a pitcher to even think about it. I just don’t see realistically how you can expect to be game ready. Look, let’s not kid ourselves, you can say that it’s going to be three or four innings for a pitcher and not be worried about it but the fact of the matter is you put me on the mound in front of 65,000 people with a flag on my jersey and it’s “go time” for anybody doing that and there is no holding back. There is no conservation of energy … six weeks before the first pitch of Opening Day is going to have a dramatic effect on how I play during the season and I would think that that’s going to be the case for any pitcher that ends up going into that series. And for any position player to some extent too. It’s one of those things that when you sit back and think about it, I’m not really sure that March is the time. I think, if you look at it realistically, if it’s only going to be every four years, I can’t imagine why we wouldn’t do a little two-week All-Star break and have some big celebration-type thing on an international level for baseball. At the All-Star break some guys could use two weeks off and I think if you did that and incorporated double-headers into the schedule, it might be a lot better situation than it’s going to be this year.
He’s looking forward to Youk
CS: I’m anxious to see Kevin Youkilis out there every day. I thought last year toward the end of the season he was a guy who was ready to play every day. I’ve been working out with him at API. He’s been busting his hump to make sure he takes advantage of the shot. Obviously the big one for me, if it ends up going through, is the Coco Crisp deal. We’re going to need somebody at the top of this lineup. Manny and David in the middle. They’re going to be who they are. They’re going to hit close to 40 [home runs] and drive in 130 [runs] each. That 130 RBI depends on the guys hitting ahead of them. Edgar [Renteria] had a very down year for him last year so you look at Mark Loretta coming in and you see improvement in the two-hole offensively. So a lot of it’s going to come down on Coco and I hope — if this ends up going through — that he’s up for that challenge…
And looking back to 2004
CS: I will be in as good as shape as I was, if not better, than when I went into the 2004 season. There’s no question about that.
On the Steelers going to the Super Bowl
GC: I picture you in that Ben Roethlisberger jersey right now. You got the black home or you got the white away?
CS: You know what, I haven’t worn either yet this week. I’m trying to save the mojo so I don’t want to wear ‘em out.
GC: Did you get a [Troy] Polamalu shirt yet?
CS: No, no. I’m not a frontrunner like that.
John Dennis: I think you should grow your hair out like Polamalu’s Curt…
CS: I’m growing my hair out, but I don’t have the braids.
GC: If I were a Steeler fan I would have a Jack Lambert shirt…
CS: I have a Lambert, I have a Mean Joe Greene, a Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Swan, and Stallworth.