First stint against big leaguers rough

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Curt Schilling struggled in his first major league appearance since the World Series.

The Boston Red Sox ace allowed three runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings Friday and gave up homers on consecutive pitches against the Minnesota Twins. His only other exhibition action came last Monday when he threw three innings in a minor league game.

Schilling, who underwent surgery in the offseason to repair his right ankle, will be on the hill for Triple-A Pawtucket's opener.

Schilling will pitch April 7 against the Indianapolis Indians. With regular rest, there's a chance the right-hander will be available for the April 13 home game against the New York Yankees.

"My next time against big league hitters, if that's the 11th, 13th, 15th, whatever it is, it'll be what I make of it," Schilling told The Boston Globe. "I need to work, whatever the competition is."

On Friday, he threw 66 pitches, 40 for strikes, with two walks and two strikeouts.

In the fourth inning, he gave up Jacque Jones' first spring training homer. Michael Restovich hit Schilling's next pitch to the same spot, over the left-center fence.

He originally was scheduled to throw in another minor league game. But with Friday being possibly his only chance to face a big league club before the regular season, manager Terry Francona decided to give him the start.

Boston's final exhibition game is next Friday and Francona wants to use next week's games to get his starters on schedule for the regular season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.