Curt Schilling faced live hitters for the first time this spring, and drew a crowd over on Field 3.
Theo Epstein set up behind the cage, interim pitching coach Al Nipper alongside, Terry Francona stood nearby, and John W. Henry and Tom Werner strolled over for a look. Schill warmed up for about 20 minutes, to simulate game conditions, then threw for 16 minutes, a couple of my fellow scribes (thank you Ian Browne) counting a total of 63 pitches. Tony Graffanino, Kevin Youkilis and Willie Harris took their hacks against Schill, with only a couple of balls hit with real authority. “That a baby,” Nipper said on more than one occasion.
The good news is that Schill, unlike last spring, wasn’t stopping to check his ankle or fuss with his delivery, no stopping and starting. He worked a very efficient 16 minutes.
“It feels good. It felt strong. Got my work in, moving forward,” Schilling said.
“Fifteen or 16 minutes out there, much more rapid than a game pace, so you wear out quicker. That’s what I’ve always tried to do in camp. That’s one of the things I learned from other veterans I’ve talked to, the quicker you can pitch tired in spring training, the better you can start getting a game mindset for pitching late innings.”
While newcomer Coco Crisp stepped in for his first live swings against Lenny DiNardo, Francona strolled over to Field 4 to watch Craig Hansen, who faced Mark Loretta, Alex Cora and Alex Gonzalez, showing some impressive life on his pitches. Manny Delcarmen, Mike Timlin, David Riske and Rudy Seanez were among the pitchers seeing hitters for the first time. Earlier, Keith Foulke threw a bullpen. Francona said Nipper told him all pitchers got through the day with no issues.
Otherwise, a pretty quiet day at the Fort. Everyone, of course, remains concerned about pitching coach Dave Wallace, who has not yet undergone another hip replacement, his condition needing to stabilize before doctors are able to proceed. Hopefully, the Celts’ win last night against Portland might have given Wally a reason to smile–he’s a big Celts fan. He and Danny Ainge, as I recall, were minor league teammates.
That’s the report from the Fort.