TOLEDO, Ohio -- Perfect. Well, just about perfect. That's the easiest way to describe Curt Schilling's rehab outing for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday night. Schilling gave up just two hits over five innings to the Toledo Mud Hens, an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, in his second rehab start while recovering from shoulder tendinitis. "Felt stronger as the game went on," Schilling said. "Felt really strong in the fifth, so a lot of good things happened today."
The Mud Hens went on the win the game, 3-2, in 10 innings, though most of the capacity crowd of 10,300 at Fifth Third Field were long gone after catching a glimpse of the six-time All-Star. Schilling didn't disappoint, retiring the first 14 batters in order, eight of them on strikeouts. He needed just 50 pitches to get through the first four innings as his fastball topped out at 93 mph. Most of his strikeouts came from his splitter, as he baffled a Mud Hens lineup that featured six players who have spent time in the Majors. Seven of the strikeouts were swinging, including a three-pitch K of Chris Shelton, the Tigers' Opening Day starter at first base last season. "Most important, I feel strong," Schilling said. "My split feels as good as it's ever been, and to have the velocity just makes it even better. Everything's been good so far." The first hit off Schilling came on his 61st pitch of the night. Brent Clevlen hit a double to deep center field on one of the lone mistakes that Schilling made. Clevlen, who played in 31 games with the Tigers last season, said that he was just trying to put the ball in play but happened to get a split-finger that was left up in the strike zone. "I haven't seen one [like that]," Clevlen said. "You rarely see split-fingers down here." David Espinosa followed with a infield single that bounced off Schilling's glove to second baseman Bobby Scales. Espinosa was safe at first and Clevlen was thrown out at home as he tried to score from second base on the play. So that ended Schilling's night after 66 pitches, 44 of them for strikes. The only semi-negative result of Schilling's dominance: He threw just six pitches from the stretch. Boston manager Terry Francona said on Thursday that Schilling, who has been on the disabled list since June 19 with shoulder tendinitis, will make another rehab start on Tuesday at Columbus.
"I knew that," Schilling said. "So no big deal."It will likely be the final rehab start for Schilling, who has struck out 14 and allowed just four hits over eight scoreless innings in his two rehab starts with Pawtucket. "I'm anxious to finish this," he said. "I'm anxious to finish strong and get back to help."
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.