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Schilling returns to the mound

Associated Press

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, but Schilling wants to make sure he’s healthy at a much more important time.

Dodgers’ closer sprains knee

In Vero Beach, Fla., Los Angeles Dodgers closer Eric Gagne sprained a ligament in his left knee 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.

Cubs bite back at Sosa

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 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.”

Clearing the bases

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 would report. … In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Baltimore’s Rafael Palmeiro is considering filing a lawsuit against Jose Canseco, who said he introduced the first baseman to steroids in 1992. … Tim Hudson‘s agent said he was hopeful of working out a contract extension with the Atlanta Braves before the Tuesday deadline set by the pitcher. … 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.

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