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Pitcher Curt Schilling reportedly has a badly damaged pitching shoulder. ((Winslow Townson/Associated Press) )

Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling claimed Monday that he has shoulder problems, but he wasn't hurt when he re-signed last Nov. 7.

"I was healthy at the time," Schilling said. "I didn't feel great, but I felt like I was 40 or 41."

The Red Sox reportedly looked into whether or not they could void Schilling's one-year, $8 million US deal, which contains an additional $5 million US in performance incentives.

But team owner John Henry scoffed at the notion he was deceived by Schilling.

"I have no reason to believe, at this point, that any such thing occurred," Henry said. 

Schilling, 41, reportedly has a rotator cuff that is so badly damaged that he requires season-ending surgery. 

But Boston, on the hook for Schilling's salary whether he pitches or not, insists he try to rehabilitate the ailing shoulder.

"I don't have any choice," Schilling said. "If their course of action doesn't work, I don't pitch this year — and I may never pitch again."

"He shouldn't be upset," Henry said. "We're trying to do what's in the best interests of Curt and the team.

"I heard the arguments and I felt we're doing the right thing." 

Red Sox physician Dr. Thomas Gill recommended rehab for the injury, but shoulder specialist Dr. Craig Morgan, who operated on Schilling in 1995 and 1999, recommended surgery.

A third doctor, New York Mets physician Dr. David Altchek, was consulted, and felt surgery would shelve Schilling for a year.

"When you consider the different opinions on my arm, I may not have any real input as to whether I pitch or not next year, if that's what I wanted to do," Schilling said. "If Dr. Altchek is correct and I have significant rotator cuff damage, then I've thrown my last pitch.

"If Dr. Morgan and Dr. Gill are correct, and my cuff is unchanged over the past few years, then that opens up another list of possibilities. Much of it will depend on the next four to six weeks, I would imagine."

'No regrets'

Schilling posted a 9-8 record with a 3.87 earned-run average in 24 starts last season, his 20th in the majors.

More importantly, he went 3-0 in four playoff starts as Boston won its second World Series in four years and seventh overall.

Schilling pitched the Red Sox past the Colorado Rockies 2-1 in Game 2 of the World Series, improving to 4-1 lifetime in seven World Series starts and 11-2 in post-season play.

"I'm disappointed that, after 21 years, my career might end like this," he said. "If I never pitch again, as disappointing as it may be, I have no regrets about everything that I have been able to experience."

Schilling is 213-142 with a 3.46 ERA, 83 complete games, 22 saves and 20 shutouts in 560 MLB appearances (427 starts) for the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Red Sox.

A six-time all-star, he was named the most valuable player of the 1993 National League Championship Series with Philadelphia, and shared MVP honours with Randy Johnson in the 2001 World Series — won by Arizona in seven games over the New York Yankees.

Schilling was equally instrumental in Boston's World Series triumph of 2004, when it swept the St. Louis Cardinals.

With files from the Associated Press