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Schilling plans to test free agency

Posted by David Lefort, Boston.com Staff  February 22, 2007 07:49 AM

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In an interview this morning on Boston sports radio station WEEI 850 AM, Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said he plans on filing for free agency after the season after learning the Sox weren’t planning on offering him a contract extension before the end of spring training.

“They’re not going to offer me a contract until after the season,” Schilling told WEEI’s John Dennis and Gerry Callahan.

When Schilling first announced he would pitch next season instead of retiring, he said if he didn’t have an extension by the end of spring training, he wouldn’t negotiate during the season and instead become a free agent for the first time in his career.

Schilling said this morning that he spoke with Sox GM Theo Epstein about the situation yesterday, and that the decision not to make him a contract offer until season’s end was made for business reasons, not personal ones. Schilling also said he was "disappointed."

"Theo and I talked yesterday and Theo was upfront and honest," the 40-year-old pitcher said. "It was a very quick meeting. It was easy."

“At this age and stage it was probably more appropriate to make that contract decision at the end of the season,” Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said on WEEI this morning after Schilling’s appearance.

Lucchino also said, however, that this didn't necessarily mean Schilling wouldn't be with the Sox next season.

"He's been a horse for us," Lucchino said. "He's been sensational over the years and this is, by no means, meant to be a sayonara to Curt Schilling in any way, shape or form."

Schilling reiterated that even if he wasn’t pitching in Boston next season, he wouldn’t consider signing with the Yankees.

“That’s not a place I think I could finish my career after what’s happened here,” he said.

Schilling, who acts as his own agent, is due to make $13 million in the final year of his deal with Boston. He said at the end of January that he told the team he'll play for the same salary and that more money "was not a very big deal to me."

So what happens now?

“Now we go about getting ready for the season and doing the things we do,” Schilling said.

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