Curt Schilling's manager was encouraged, but the perfectionist pitcher was less than thrilled Thursday after throwing off a mound for the first time since winning Game 2 of the World Series.
Sixteen days after beating St. Louis, the Boston Red Sox pitcher had ankle surgery.
''This was a day when I didn't feel as good as I wanted to feel,'' Schilling said after his 47-pitch, 16-minute workout at Fort Myers, Fla. ''My ankle didn't hurt, so I guess that's a positive for people other than me.''
Pitching opening day against the New York Yankees on April 3 probably against former Arizona teammate Randy Johnson remains a possibility, and Schilling's competitive nature is driving him toward that. But he wants to make sure he's healthy at a much more important time.
''I think he looked terrific,'' manager Terry Francona said. ''He wants to be dotting every corner right now and throwing splits, and that's just not going to happen.''
Schilling's 21-6 record and 3.26 ERA in his first season with Boston boosted the Red Sox into the playoffs, where his bloody sock became the symbol of his determination to do whatever he could to help them win the World Series for the first time in 86 years.
He had one of the worst outings of his career in the first game of the AL championship series, allowing six runs in three innings of a 10-7 loss to the Yankees. Before his next start, a tendon that had been slipping out of place was stitched to his skin.
With blood seeping through the sutures, Schilling allowed one run in seven innings during Boston's 4-2 win. The procedure was repeated before his next and last start, when he allowed no earned runs in six innings of a 6-2 victory.
In Vero Beach, Fla., Los Angeles Dodgers closer Eric Gagne sprained a ligament in his left knee Thursday during the team's first full-squad workout of spring training, and will undergo an MRI exam.
Gagne didn't seem particularly concerned, but trainer Stan Johnston said the 29-year-old right-hander probably will have his activity limited for about a week. Johnston said the injury needs about six weeks to fully heal.
''I turned around and a cleat got stuck,'' Gagne said. ''I just twisted my knee a little bit. I'm not concerned. There's no swelling, and that's a really good sign. I don't want to start aggravating anything. It's early in camp.''
Infielder Norihiro Nakamura, signed to a minor league contract, was not in camp because of visa problems. Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said he had no idea when Nakamura, a 31-year-old veteran of 13 seasons with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes in Japan's Pacific League, would report.
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro is leaving open the possibility of filing a lawsuit against Jose Canseco, who said he introduced the first baseman to steroids in 1992 when both players were with the Texas Rangers.
Canseco cited Palmeiro as a steroid user in his new book. In an interview on the CBS television show ''60 Minutes,'' Canseco said he injected the drug into Palmeiro.
Palmeiro issued a statement last month in which he denied ever using steroids, and he emphatically backed up that assertion Thursday after his first practice of spring training. Palmeiro also said he's considered hiring the law firm of Orioles owner Peter Angelos to take legal action against Canseco.
''The one thing I can say is I have the best law firm and the best lawyer standing in the wings in Peter Angelos,'' he said. ''I have options available for me. He stands behind me and he's ready. I will look at all my options and I'll decide.''
In Mesa, Ariz., Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker and some of his players were disputing some comments Sammy Sosa made when he reported to the Baltimore Orioles' camp.
At a news conference Wednesday, Sosa was asked about comments by Cubs players who said he and the team were better off following the Feb. 2 trade. Sosa apparently interpreted that as the Cubs saying they didn't need him anymore.
''They lie,'' Sosa was quoted as saying in several newspapers.
The Cubs insisted Thursday that's not what they said or meant.
''Did I say that?'' asked Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood. ''I never did say it, so apparently somebody else lies. Not him. I'm not talking about him. I never said we were better without Sammy. I said I think both teams got better in the offseason not because we got rid of Sammy but because of some other moves we made.''
Tim Hudson's agent said he was hopeful of working out a contract extension with the Atlanta Braves before the March 1 deadline set by the pitcher. Hudson, acquired from Oakland in mid-December, is entering the final year of his contract.
''We had a bunch of different conversations with the Braves. They've been positive,'' agent Paul Cohen said. ''Obviously, we're apart financially. We'll continue to have discussions. I think there's a chance it could get done.''
In Tampa, Fla., Yankees closer Mariano Rivera threw 44 pitches in the bullpen while the rest of his work group threw batting practice for the first time.
''We're just taking it easy with him,'' New York pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said. ''He's fine. He didn't do a lot of throwing before we came down, which is fine. I'm not worried about it.''
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