Julian Tavarez and Kyle Snyder will get the starts in Saturday's doubleheader, though Francona has not announced the order yet. The Sox haven't announced a starter for Sunday, though left-hander Kason Gabbard could take that turn if the tightness in his lat muscle goes away.
Schilling, who had the sluggish feeling in his arm on Tuesday, actually felt better when he played long toss before Wednesday's game.
"We're going to throw [Thursday], that's all I know," said Schilling. "We're not going to go beyond tomorrow. We're going to throw to hitters, stretch it out and see how it feels. It feels fine right now."
Schilling has missed his last two turns in the rotation and it's unclear when he'll pitch next. But he made it clear that everything is fine with his arm.
"[The sluggishness] was just from not throwing," Schilling said. "This is not a time of year when you want to sit around for seven or eight days."
Despite Boston's fading postseason hopes, Schilling made it clear he will not shut it down for the season.
"Why would I shut it down? What do they pay me to do? The season's not over," Schilling said. "Under that terminology, I should have shut it down for 10 consecutive years when we were in last place in Philadelphia. I don't get that line of thinking."
Timlin to pitch in '07: Setup man Mike Timlin, who has had a rough 2006 season, said that he does not plan on retiring this winter.
"I'm going to pitch next year," said Timlin. "I want to reach 1,000 games."
The right-hander, who will turn 41 next March, is 46 games shy of 1,000 appearances for his career.
While Timlin is sure he'll pitch next year, he doesn't know for whom. He said that he has a mutual option with the Red Sox for 2007, but the right-hander could become a free agent if the club doesn't have interest in bringing him back.
When the Red Sox re-signed Timlin last November to a one-year deal, there was no mention of any type of option. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, when reached via e-mail Wednesday night, would not comment on whether there was an option on Timlin for '07.
"I like it here. I've had good success here," said Timlin, who represents himself. "I would like to come back. That's not my decision really. It's part of my decision, because in the contract we have a mutual option. One of the reasons I put that provision in there is to try to come back."
As for his mighty struggles this season -- which include a 6.92 ERA in the second half, Timlin thinks there have been a collection of reasons for his struggles.
He pitched in a career-high 81 games last year, then had his schedule affected by his participation in the World Baseball Classic in Spring Training of '06.
"Plus, I'm 40 years old. I'm not rebounding like I would like to rebound," said Timlin. "I'm tired. It's been a long year. I'm not throwing the ball well. I feel fine, I'm just not locating, I'm just getting beat up. I need to locate better."
Coco out again: For the second time in the last three games, center fielder Coco Crisp was out of the lineup with discomfort in the left index finger that he fractured on April 8.
"Every time he hits a ball off the end of the bat, it just sends like, shockwaves through that finger," said Francona. "I think he's probably going to need a couple of days. It definitely hurts."
Manny in limbo: Left fielder Manny Ramirez was not in the starting lineup for the third straight game. Ramirez has started just seven of the Red Sox's last 21 games because of patella tendinitis in his right knee.
"[The training staff] will tell me when he can play," said Francona. "Rather than me running in there every 10 minutes ... when they say it, we'll put him in there."
Orioles first baseman/designated hitter Kevin Millar, Ramirez's friend and former teammate, continues to kid the slugger during batting practice that he can't win the MVP award if he doesn't play.
Ramirez is hitting .318 with 34 homers and 101 RBIs.
Coming up: Left-hander Lenny DiNardo (1-2, 7.42 ERA) will make his first start since May 21 when he faces left-hander Adam Loewen (5-5, 5.32 ERA) in the finale of this three-game series on Thursday. The first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.