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Notes: Schilling wanting more

Notes: Schilling wanting more

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's always good for a pitcher to be economical. Curt Schilling, however, would have liked just a little more work on Friday.

The ace of the Red Sox needed just 85 pitches to complete seven innings against the Orioles. It was his last chance to stretch out, as Schilling will scale back down to roughly 60 pitches on Wednesday in what will be his final tune-up before Opening Day.

"Even with some long at-bats," said Schilling, "I still didn't throw as many pitches as I hoped I would."

He was looking to get 100-105 pitches. On the plus side, Schilling considers himself game-ready.

"I feel good, very good, about where I'm at right now, yeah," said Schilling, who gave up six hits and two runs to the Orioles, while striking out six and not walking a batter.

Schilling said at the outset of camp that he wanted to start Opening Day, but he wanted it to be because of his current ability and not his status. Does he feel he accomplished that?

"That's the goal, we'll find out in October," Schilling said. "It really is something that is much less of a big deal after Opening Day. After Opening Day, it's irrelevant. But I've always looked at it as very much an honor. It's something I'm very proud to do."

Plan for Tavarez: In order to get Julian Tavarez ready for his April 7 start at Texas, the Red Sox will send the righty to the mound in a Minor League game on Wednesday, and again in an exhibition game at Philadelphia on March 31. After that, Tavarez will pitch a simulated game during the April 3 off-day in Kansas City.

The Red Sox are confident that Tavarez, who has replaced Jonathan Papelbon in the starting rotation, will continue to ride the momentum he gained in the rotation late last season.

"He pitched the best he pitched all year when he pitched in that role," said catcher Jason Varitek. "We're not going to expect too much, but I know what you can expect out of him is he's going to go out there and give you what he has, every single time he goes out there."

Coco return: Center fielder Coco Crisp, sidelined with left shoulder stiffness, will make his return to the lineup on Saturday against the Devil Rays. Crisp last played on March 14.

Quotable: "He set the standard for what it is to be a closer these days. He's kind of the man that, to everybody who is a closer now, he's like the Godfather. He understands that we're going to be going after him. I think what he's done for the role of a closer and for the game of baseball has been a big thing." -- Papelbon on Mariano Rivera

From sportswriter to umpire: Yes, that was Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci who umpired Friday's game between the Red Sox and Orioles. Verducci started the game at third base, and rotated to second and first later in the game.

Did manager Terry Francona have any beefs with Verducci's work?

"If I would have, I wouldn't have gone out there. I wasn't going to get in the article," said Francona.

In 2005, Verducci was given access by the Blue Jays to be a non-roster player in camp and wrote a journal-style article about it. Presumably, he will do the same thing on his umpire cameo.

Coming up: Devern Hansack gets the nod for Saturday's road start against the Devil Rays. Hideki Okajima will pitch in relief. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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