PHILADELPHIA - Curt Schilling brushed off questions Tuesday about any desire to be traded from the Diamondbacks to the Philadelphia Phillies.
He denied a report in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer that said, while the Phillies were in Phoenix last week, Schilling tried to plant the seeds for such a trade, including names of players who might be a part of the deal.
Asked about his desire to return to the Phillies, Schilling said, “I'm not going to answer any stupid questions or irrelevant questions.”
The point is probably moot. The Phillies cannot afford to add Schilling, one team official said, and they seem focused on retaining potential free agent Kevin Millwood, which would tie up even more payroll in the future.
Schilling — who is scheduled to start today — forced Philadelphia to trade him to Arizona in 2000 by refusing to discuss a contract extension. He admitted Tuesday that with a contending team and a new stadium set to open next year, “It's different than it was when I was here.”
Said manager Bob Brenly: “Sometimes these things start very innocently in private conversations and then spread like wildfire.”
Inquirer columnist Bob Ford wrote Tuesday that the Phillies should avoid any temptation to bring back Schilling because, “The guy's a jerk.”
Ford continued, “Schilling's reputation as a me-first player is mostly deserved. There may be no ‘I’ in team, but there are two in Schilling.”
Brenly responded by saying: “Guys who have access to those editorial columns can pretty much write whatever they want, whenever they want, and spin it in any direction they want with very little recourse, accountability or answering to the people who he's taking shots at. You can't do anything about
The Diamondbacks are shrugging off the hoopla. Schilling, who is signed through next season, even approached general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. last week to tell him to ignore all the trade rumors.
“I don't buy any of this,” CEO Jerry Colangelo said. “He has no interest in going anywhere, he's happy where he is. That's all there is to it.”
Garagiola called the original Inquirer report “multiple levels of hearsay.”
“I am not looking to move (Schilling),” Garagiola said. “The fact that he expressed positive feelings for his time in Philadelphia and for the relationship he developed with the fans is not a bad thing. Matt Williams talks in the same fond terms about his time in San Francisco.”
Schilling is looking forward to today's game — which could be his last outing at Veterans Stadium — and the match-up with youngster Brett Myers, who has something of a mentor in Schilling.
“I love pitching here,” Schilling said. “It definitely wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing place to play, but I enjoyed the hell out of pitching here every fifth day. No matter how many people were here, they were loud and they were passionate.”
Schilling met Myers in 1999, after the Phillies drafted him in the first round. Their friendship took off the next year at the All-Star game, which Myers attended as a participant in the Futures Game for prospects. The two spent time together Monday.
“We're friends and we talk a lot,” Schilling said. “I follow how he's doing and obviously he's doing very well.
“A lot of (the conversation) centers around pitching but a lot of it centers around the other stuff that has to be done up here to be successful.”
Myers down-played the matchup.
“He's pitching against our hitters,” Myers said. “I'm pitching against their hitters.”