The First Domino. In Fort Myers Friday, it was all-Schilling, all the time. The right-hander has been working out at the same facility in Arizona Nomar Garciaparra has used for years. "I'm more flexible than I've ever felt. Throwing-wise, I'm feeling good enough to be nervous about how good I feel. ... I firmly believe that from top to bottom this is going to be the best team I've ever been on, with every opportunity to win a World Championship and multiple World Championships."
Schilling is also high on Byung-Hyun Kim. He "could go out and win 20 games if he's got his mind set to go out and do that. ... BK is as talented a pitcher as I've ever pitched with. ... I know he didn't end the season on the smoothest of circumstances, but that's last year. And if he's got pride and integrity, then he'll have answered a lot of questions himself this winter." ... A t-shirt hanging in Schilling's locker: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, and then used against you." It should be fun watching him handle the Boston media.
Schilling's Plan Of Action: He wants to throw 28-32 innings this spring and doesn't want to face any AL East teams. He hopes to make at least 35 starts and pitch 245 innings. And he's working on a new pitch, possibly a curveball or changeup. ... He also gets some press in the New York Post and the Daily News; the latter tabloid claims Schilling came close to calling John Henry a hypocrite for his salary cap comments a few days ago. Not quite. ... Tim Wakefield also spoke to the Post.
Dave McCarty would like to pitch his way onto the team, a la Brooks Kieschnick of the Brewers. McCarty, a lefty, threw in the bullpen several times last September, though the last time he pitched seriously was in high school. Terry Francona called the idea "different" yet "very intriguing." ... Jeff Horrigan and Bob Hohler chat with Brian Daubach. ... ALCS? Mike Timlin and Tim Wakefield have moved on. [I've added the Fort Myers News-Press to the Sox Media list to the left.] ... Gabe Kapler has changed his uniform number from 29 to 19 to accommodate Keith Foulke.
Albert Pujols signed a 7-year, $100 million deal with the Cardinals. It will pay him $7 million this year, $11 million in 2005, $14 million in 2006, $15 million on 2007 and $16 million per year from 2008-2010. So while Nomar may have more leverage in contract negotiations now that Rodriguez is in New York, the salaries being doled out this winter (to Pujols, Tejada, Guerrero, etc.) clearly show that Garciaparra will not get as much as he would like from Boston. $14 is probably as much as he could hope for.
More Schilling: "I don't know that this rivalry has ever been at the intensity level it's at now and we haven't played a game yet. We haven't even had a workout yet. ... The American League East is going to be settled on the field, as it should be, and I think the two best teams in the game are in this division. And we're going to have 19 chances to beat up on each other to prove who's better." At least 19 chances.