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Schilling nears return to BoSox

Associated Press

NOTES

Curt Schilling moved closer to returning to Boston’s rotation, throwing another simulated game Friday.

Schilling, sidelined with a right ankle injury since April 24, is expected to pitch in a bullpen session on Sunday and make a start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday.

“It’s getting better. I felt good. I felt smooth,” Schilling said after throwing 84 pitches from the mound before the Red Sox played Philadelphia. “My pitches have gotten sharper the last couple days and I felt like I was ready.”

Schilling said he plans to make more than one rehab start.

Five players suspended

Five minor leaguers were suspended for 15 games by the commissioner’s office for violating baseball’s minor league drug policy.

The five minor league players suspended were Jeffrey Bruksch, a pitcher in the Cincinnati organization; Sergio Garcia, an infielder in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ farm system; Brian Walker, a pitcher in the New York Mets’ system; Jeffrey Kennard, a pitcher in the New York Yankees’ organization; and Josh Carter, an outfielder with Philadelphia.

Clearing the bases

Eric Gagne did not need elbow ligament replacement surgery, and the Dodgers’ closer should be ready for spring training. … Mark Prior, on the disabled list since May 28 with a fractured right elbow, will return to the Cubs’ rotation and start Sunday’s game against the White Sox. … Also, Kerry Wood, who made his final rehabilitation start for the Iowa Cubs, said he’s ready to rejoin the Cubs. … Brewers third baseman Jeff Cirillo broke a bone in his left hand when hit by a pitch from Twins reliever Matt Guerrier in the eighth inning and will miss four to six weeks. … St. Louis Cardinals reliever Randy Flores was placed on the 15-day DL because of an unusual injury: When he removed his sock following a two-inning stint the previous night, a large patch of skin came off with it.

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