BOSTON (AP) -Curt Schilling has an injured right shoulder, and the ballplayer and the Boston Red Sox have been squabbling over whether he should have surgery that could cost him the season or try something less drastic.
``Curt Schilling was examined by Red Sox doctors in January after he reported feeling right shoulder discomfort,'' the Red Sox said in a statement Thursday night. ``Curt has started a program of rest, rehabilitation and shoulder strengthening in an attempt to return to pitching.''
Red Sox officials declined to elaborate on the two-sentence statement, which was released at 8:11 p.m. Schilling's blog was last updated Wednesday, and he did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment; his spokeswoman, Katie Leighton, said he would have none.
Boston Globe reported later Thursday that even without surgery Schilling would be out until at least the All-Star break.
The 41-year-old right-hander said in November after agreeing to an $8 million, one-year contract that this will be his last year.
The dispute over Schilling's treatment went far enough to lead Schilling to consult with the players' union over his rights.
``I have been consulted by Curt and his representative,'' said Michael Weiner, a lawyer for the players association. ``The Red Sox have no basis to take any action against Curt.''
According to a side letter to the collective bargaining agreement, a player has the right to seek a second opinion from his own doctor, but it's in dispute what happens when the team's doctor and the player's disagree on the treatment.
Schilling, who spent seven weeks on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis last year, went 9-8 with a 3.87 ERA during the regular season last year. In the playoffs, he went 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA to help the Red Sox win their second World Series in four seasons.
He agreed in November to a contract that allows him to earn an addition $5 million in performance and weight bonuses.
The co-MVP of the 2001 World Series and a star in both of Boston's recent titles, Schilling became a free agent after the '07 Series but agreed to a deal that included $5 million in weight and performance incentives. The Red Sox questioned whether Schilling's offseason conditioning last winter was responsible for his dropoff in the '07 regular season.
The Red Sox had discussed - and dismissed - the idea of using a six-man rotation this year. With Schilling out for an extended period of time, they are expected to rely on Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz.
AP Sports Writer Howard Ulman in Fort Myers, Fla., contributed to this report.

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