BOSTON Curt Schilling says he's out for the season, and his career may be over.
The 41-year-old Boston Red Sox right-hander said Friday on Boston radio station WEEI he will have shoulder surgery next week.
"My season is over and there is a pretty decent chance I have thrown my last pitch forever," he said.
Schilling's physician, Dr. Craig Morgan, confirmed to The Associated Press the surgery will be done Monday in Wilmington, Del.
"If you use a scale of 1 to 10 and 10 is pitching in the big leagues, I'm at about 3 right now," Schilling said.
He added: "I'm going in to make it not hurt anymore."
The club confirmed that Schilling will have surgery but had no further comment.
Early in spring training, Schilling's course of treatment became a source of melodrama. Team physician Dr. Thomas Gill recommended rehab for a tendon injury. Schilling sought a second opinion from Morgan, who operated on the right shoulder in 1995 and 1999. Morgan felt surgery was best and rehabilitation would fail and potentially end Schilling's career.
On Friday, Morgan said there was no animosity between him and Gill.
Morgan also said Schilling's shoulder is stronger than it was in spring training when he recommended surgery. But the original problem with the tendon persists. He said Schilling could throw off flat ground but not from the mound.
Schilling and Gill "agreed that he is unable to pitch the way he is," Morgan said.
He said he examined Schilling on Monday in his Delaware office then spoke with Gill that evening. Schilling, who's been out since the start of spring training, underwent an MRI on Tuesday after which a decision was made to operate. Last week, Schilling had still planned to stick with rehab.
"We had a rough couple of weeks, so a lot of stuff happened over the last couple of days," Schilling said. "I met with Dr. Morgan ... and Dr. Gill. It got to a point we had to make some decisions."
Morgan said the rehab program has significantly strengthened Schilling's arm but the right-hander still has pain in a shoulder tendon that became pronounced during a recent bullpen session.
If the surgery is limited to fixing the tendon, the usual recovery time is about six months, Morgan said. Then Schilling would have to start strengthening the shoulder and throwing. He said it was too early to tell if Schilling would pitch again.
In his most recent posting on his Web site, 38pitches.com, Schilling wrote on June 11:
"Threw 40 pitches off the mound yesterday. Wasn't a great day and didn't feel all that well but I am writing that off as just an off day or bad day, which I guess is all part of the rehab thing. Plan is to throw again Friday and gear up to face hitters at some point late next week if everything stays on schedule."
The Red Sox are deep in starting pitching even without Schilling and have the second best record in the majors, trailing only the Chicago Cubs.
Josh Beckett is the ace, Daisuke Matsuzaka is 8-0 with a 2.53 ERA, and youngsters Jon Lester and Justin Masterson are having solid seasons. Bartolo Colon, the AL Cy Young award winner in 2005, is 4-2 after signing a minor league contract during spring training, and Tim Wakefield is 4-4 with the second most innings pitched on the staff.
The Red Sox also have Clay Buchholz, who began the season with Boston but is now at Triple-A Pawtucket. He pitched a no-hitter in his second major league start last Sept. 1.
Schilling ended last season, his 20th, with 3,116 strikeouts, 14th most in baseball history. And he's been dominant in the postseason with an 11-2 record, the best of any pitcher with at least 10 decisions.
In 2004, his first season with the Red Sox after being traded from Arizona, Schilling became a sports icon in Boston when he won Game 6 of the ALCS and Game 2 of the World Series after a surgical procedure to suture a loose tendon in his right ankle. His bloodstained right sock became a part of baseball history.
Schilling said he was not hurt when he signed a one-year, $8 million contract with Boston in November but knew in spring training he might never pitch in a game again.
"I don't have any choice. If their course of action (rehab) doesn't work I don't pitch this year, and I may never pitch again," he said at the time.
He has a career record of 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA, and was co-MVP of the 2001 World Series with Randy Johnson for Arizona.
Schilling spent part of last season on the disabled list with what the team said was tendinitis in his right shoulder and went 9-8 with a 3.47 ERA in 24 starts. Then came the postseason and he was outstanding again. In four starts, he went 3-0, including a 2-1 win over Colorado in the second game of Boston's sweep of the World Series.