'Shocked' Schilling was 'Stunned' by Damon's Comments
'Shocked' Schill 'Stunned' by Damon's Comments
(Getty Images Photo / Ezra Shaw)
Curt Opens Up on Closer Comments
Curt Schilling addresses his new role and some untimely comments in his weekly appearance on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show
On who came up with the idea to move him to the bullpen:
“I know it was discussed amongst a group of people before I offered and that kind of followed itself to a conclusion of ‘great, let’s do it.’ …They had been discussing it briefly then I threw in Pawtucket then flew back the day Keith (Foulke) had been hurt and was headed out for his MRI and I brought it up to Chris Correnti who mentioned in passing that they had discussed it. They were, I guess, hesitant to approach me and I thought that was kind of nonsense, there’s no reason… Tito (Francona) knows me, but I still think out of respect for me he was biding his time, I don’t know, I’m not real sure but when we talked it didn’t take long. (Bullpen role defined?) No it’s not, It isn’t. I don’t know. I’m sure the games will define it. The untalked about here is if I go out there and suck at it. Obviously I want to go out and I want to dominate. It makes for a really cool story, I guess, from your end but at the same time it’s a job that’s tough to do. It’s something that whatever I end up doing out in the pen and to have success for this to be something plausible… I don’t have any limits. I can be ready as quickly as I need to be ready. I can come in with bases loaded. I can come in any inning with runners on. I can start an inning. It doesn’t matter.”
Why do it at this point in your career?
“I guess in my mind it’s the absolute best possible thing the team could do right now given where we’re at and what’s going on. My ankle was my ankle in 3 or 4 starts into my rehab and with everything that happened. It felt like it kinda had plateaued. I believe it’s going to get stronger. I believe it’s gonna get better. That might be two rehab starts from now, that might be December. I don’t know. In the meantime, I think being active, no matter where I’m pitching, is something that’s gonna benefit the club… I’ll continue to do the work I need to do to get my foot stronger. I’m doing that here. Craig Friedman from API is hanging out in Disney with the family right now to do what I need to do. If something comes up and tomorrow we get Billy Wagner or we get so-and-so to close games, then I go, in my mind, in the rotation with some pitch count starts, and take the reins off.”
“One of the bonuses that I can bring to the bullpen is the ability to throw five pitches. And being in the bullpen, I’ll have a very, very good idea of who I’m going to face and when I’m gonna face them, so if it’s all lefthanders I can make sure I bring my curveball with me, if it’s gonna be all righthanders I can make sure I bring my slider. The fastball and splitter are always gonna be my staples, but I got a chance to do some different things… Very quickly hitters are going to be coming into a seventh-, eighth-, ninth-inning situation against me with a real good idea of how I’ve done things. It’s a lot easier to do that when you’re facing a guy that’s a two-pitch pitcher. You can eliminate one. Sit on the other. But like I said if I think I’m gonna face lefties, I can come out and bring my back-door slider, my split, my fastball, and my curveball if I need it and I feel like I have enough stuff, control wise, that that can change on a nightly basis for me and I think that presents problems.”
“My desire is to be in the rotation and be pitching every fifth day and to do what I do. To do what they pay me to do. But that’s just not possible right now. It might be next week. It might be next month but if it is possible and it happens that I can do that, that’s what I want to do.”
On Johnny Damon and other players’ comments and some that might view this as him trying to steal the spotlight:
“That probably burns my ass more than anything, to even mention something like that. (The) spotlight thing is such a crock. From a lot of different angles it’s crap. That whole spotlight angle is one that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’ll take the spotlight if that’s what is there when on the mound and I succeed and that’s part of it, that’s fine. But as far as the spotlight thing and the media thing, I can promise you, you guys are nice guys, I’d much rather be sleeping right now than talking to you guys. I want to do whatever I can do to help put another ring on my finger, whatever the team needs me to do. I’ve never told my manager no when I’ve been asked to do something. I’ve never put myself and my interests ahead of the team. I’ve always felt like if I can take the ball and I can get on the mound, I’m gonna be better than anybody that’s out there. Whether that’s true or not is not really relevant to me, that’s how I have to operate, and that’s how I think I’ve always been at my best is with that belief and that frame of mind.”
Why would any teammate have a problem with you in the bullpen if it is what’s best for the team?
“I’m absolutely the wrong guy to answer that question.”
Is there some form of resentment in there for all that you accomplished and everything the team accomplished last year?
“I can’t answer that. I don’t know. I sure hope not. Just because last October, the things that happened and the things that I did, regardless of the perceptions, the thing that I held onto was that the 24 guys that I did them with, and did them for, saw what happened, what I went through, and I made it very clear on a lot of different occasions, the reasons why. First and foremost because of those 24 guys. And what we had gone through. And what we endured. That was the reason, No. 1 in my mind, why I did what I did. Lot of other reasons plus that one but bottom line was we all had the same thing in mind and we all wanted the same thing so badly but there wasn’t anything I don’t believe any of us wouldn’t have done.”
Were you surprised when you read what Damon had to say?
“I guess you could… surprise would be mild I guess, I was pretty shocked, sure.”
Does he have a personal problem with you?
“I don’t think so. I really doubt that. Johnny knows how much respect I have for him as a player. He’s a gamer. He plays every night. He plays hurt. He plays the game the right way when he’s on the field. That’s really for the most part that’s the only evaluation you can ever give a teammate. There’s certain guys you get close to. There are certain guys you get to know better than others. But the bottom line is you don’t know a ton about each other beyond the player-type stuff. We hang out with each other, we’re always in a clubhouse atmosphere. It’s a very different place. And I was really… I was stunned, yes. It’s come out since then that a lot of guys commented basically because they weren’t sure how it happened or what came to be and regardless of whether that’s true or not, I was a little taken a back by it yeah but that’s… what are you going to do. It didn’t change what I’m doing to get ready to do this to try and help. I would imagine we’ll chat at some point, sure. Whether we’ll talk about this, I don’t know. Thursday’s gonna be the first game of a big series and the first game of the second half and this is not something that I’m going to need to talk about to help me get ready to pitch if I have to pitch Thursday night… I think part of it had to do with Mike Timlin, our feelings for Mike as a team. Coming off the fact that the league screwed him out of being on the All-Star team. I think a lot of guys are still defensive about him, how well he’s done. From my perspective, not having come to a quick conclusion but actually having looked into the situation in depth, in my mind if you move Mike to the back of the bullpen, our bullpen got thinner. A lot of bad things happened and that’s what happens when you lose a pitcher who does what Keith did, the domino effect can be devastating if you don’t have depth and that’s something that I felt like I was able to offer them was some depth.”