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Keith Foulke talks about his season

Transcript of Sox reliever's comments to sports radio WEEI

“It came to a point where I went in and I talked to Tito (manager Terry Francona) the other day and I told him we need to do one of two things, either give me stronger medicine to make my knee feel better, I need to start pitching more if I’m gonna get ready for the playoffs. But the thing that I experienced the last couple of times that I threw is where, after I pitch is my shoulder starts to bother me and obviously the other option was, we call this year, we can just write this year off and start getting ready for next year. Let me knee heal, have surgery on my other knee and get ready for ‘06 After talking to Theo, the whole coaching staff, we just decided that we’ll go ahead and shut it down for this year and get healthy, get right, and get ready to go in ’06.

“I flew back to Phoenix to get a second opinion on my knee by a doctor here and I’ll be back in Boston on Tuesday.

“I expect to have my right knee done the end of next week and it’s just one of those deals, I went to back to see Dr. Gill, who performed my left knee surgery and unfortunately the one thing that really bothered my knee is the pitching mechanics, where he went in there and shaved that bone down to smooth it out, and until that bone heals, the point of contact where I have the most pain is right at the crucial part of my delivery, so I was having to change my mechanics to try to shorten my stride to compensate for the knee and in turn my shoulder started bothering me and that’s one thing that really concerned us is in all reality I probably wasn’t going to be able to help the team win this year anyway with the lack of pitching, not feeling 100 percent, we just tried to make a decision where I’ll be ready to go in ’06.

“When I first came back, my mechanics were horrible, when I was rehabbing my knee was feeling incredible. It felt like the pain was gone. It was one of those things when I started going back to the pitching motion, and it slowly started to digress everyday that I would pitch and it would bother me for two or three days, then it would go away and I could throw again. Then after the month of September after throwing the last couple of times, my knee was starting to ache real bad, my shoulder was starting to ache, it just came to a point in the last week and a half that you gotta be real with yourself, do what’s best for the team, and the last thing I wanted to do was go out there and demand to pitch and cost the team in a tight race.

“I didn’t go into (manager Terry Francona’s) office telling him I wanted to shut it down. I told him one of two things needs to happen: I need stronger medicine to help me get over the pain in my knee or we need to think about shutting it down. I put it… I actually told him, you know what, I want you guys to make the decision for me. Obviously he knows me well enough, he’s seen me pitch for years, I had him in Oakland. One of the things I love to do, I love to pitch, I love to compete and I told him that something needs to happen and he said ‘we’ll think about it, I put the ball in your court’ and the next thing we had a big parent-teacher meeting, and that’s where as a group we decided that me shutting it down would be the best thing.

“We talked about it (taking care of the knees at the end of last season). I think both sides kind of dropped the ball. If anything it’s one of those deals, we definitely should of… I wish I would have agreed to have done it on the first day of spring training.

“My feeling on this whole season is it’s almost a relief now that it’s over, the last year of my life has pretty much been the worst year of my life, off the field, on the field, it’s one of those deals that I’m glad it’s over… (2005) was the worst pitching performances of my career, I’m embarrassed, but I went out there and tried, it didn’t work, now my focus and all my thoughts are going towards Feb. 15 of next year.

“I want to pitch (for the Red Sox) for the next two years, then we’ll have a big retirement party, then we’ll come back and see you guys (WEEI’s Dale and Holley) at the reunion… I’m getting old, I’ve got a little boy to raise and as I just found out that six hour flight from Boston to Phoenix is a long time in the air.

“I’ve actually heard from a few separate people that the article (in the San Francisco Chronicle last week) had me almost saying that I didn’t like Boston. I love the city of Boston, what I don’t like… I’m a country boy. I grew up in the woods of East Texas. I’m not a city person. I don’t like walking out of my door and seeing hundreds of people everywhere. I need to be where I can have a back porch, I can go out, I can grill a steak. I got a garage where I can go out and mess with my bike, cars, whatever, I’m just not a city person you know, my wife and I at the time, we tried to move into the city, we thought it’d be convenient, you know what it backfired, not backfired, but it’s just not my style of living. Everybody’s got a comfort zone and mine is probably out in the suburbs in a little neighborhood and not in a high rise downtown.

“I love the city of Boston. I’ve never played in a place like Boston. There’s no other place like this in the country. I love it there. It’s a small city but it has everything you need, great people, great fans. And oddly enough, I’ve actually become a fan of Fenway, the ballpark, and I love living there, I love playing there and we still have big things to do in the future.”

On the reports of his dour mood: “It’s one of those deals, we see those reporters every single day and how many times can you answer the same question about how you feel in a game, I felt terrible. How did I pitch? I didn’t pitch well. And I like reporters but it’s one of those deals, for the most part, I’d say maybe 85 percent of the time, I keep a very business type relationship. You pretty much try and answer the questions. Yeah, I was in a bad mood pretty much the whole year. There’s probably only a handful of times where I came out of a game and I was actually happy with the way I performed and it’s not that I dislike the media, but sometimes I don’t like the questions they ask, and I don’t like to answer the same questions over and over and over again. And unfortunately, a lot of that sarcasm comes out in the paper, you can’t put that in black and white. A lot of the things I say are more of a joke, humor, maybe some type of stab at myself, and sometimes those don’t always translate into the paper. The people who know me know what kind of person I am. They know I’m not a bad person and I hate to come out that way in the media sometimes.”

Does the Keith Foulke who reports to Ft. Myers on Feb. 15 want to be a relief pitcher or a starter?

“That’s an easy question, I want to be a starter. That’s been no secret, I’ve said this since the day I went in the bullpen in 1997 in Chicago. I’d love to be a starter. I love to go out and compete for long periods of time and honestly there’s times when I go out in the bullpen and I’m bored. I hate sitting around, not knowing if I’m going to pitch and if I was a starter right now I’d be working out, I’d be getting extra work in, I’d be studying hitters maybe a little bit more, tendencies… I’d enjoy starting. That’s all I’ve got to say. I think I’ve said it jokingly (to the Red Sox) now if they take me seriously, I have no idea. I’m not sure about the Red Sox but actually in 2002 when I was taken out of the closing role in Chicago, (White Sox manager) Jerry Manuel, he had actually started setting dates where I was possibly going to start and (White Sox general manager) Kenny Williams came and shut that down but I was traded a couple of months later. But the more I pitch the better, and that was actually one of the things I talked to Tito about the other day, when I do come back, I want to come back to throwing in 80-85 ballgames a year and start getting my innings up to 90-100 innings a year. The more I pitch when I’m healthy, the better I am, the happier I am and everybody knows when I’m happy, things go well.”

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