BOSTON (AP) -No paint, no ink, no ketchup.
Nothing but Curt Schilling's blood was seeping through his socks in the 2004 postseason, current and former Red Sox said Thursday after a rumor resurfaced that the pitcher milked his injury for drama while helping Boston end its 86-year title drought.
On Wednesday, Baltimore announcer Gary Thorne said during his broadcast of the Red Sox-Orioles game that Boston backup catcher Doug Mirabelli admitted it was a hoax.
``It was painted,'' Thorne said. ``Doug Mirabelli confessed up to it after. It was all for PR.''
But Mirabelli denied ever talking to Thorne, telling The Boston Globe that Thorne's comment was ``a straight lie.''
``I never said that,'' Mirabelli told the paper. ``I know it was blood. Everybody knows it was blood.''
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said the team ``would not dignify these insinuations with extensive comment ... other than to remind everyone that we remain steadfastly proud of the courageous efforts by a seriously injured Curt Schilling - efforts that helped lead the Red Sox to the 2004 World Series championship.''
After an ankle injury hampered Schilling in Game 1 of the '04 AL championship series against New York, team doctors jury-rigged a tendon in his right ankle to keep it from flopping around. With blood seeping through his sock, the pitcher came back in Game 6 to beat the Yankees.
The Red Sox completed an unprecedented comeback from an 0-3 deficit to reach the World Series, and team doctor Bill Morgan repeated the procedure before Schilling's Game 2 start against St. Louis. Boston beat the Cardinals en route to a four-game sweep and its first world championship since 1918.
No stranger to the spotlight, Schilling is not afraid to say or do things that court controversy. The suggestion that he faked the injury to get attention has cropped up before, including a GQ magazine article that cited an anonymous Red Sox player as its source.
Schilling tried to settle things in his own blog this spring when a reader asked him to respond to claims by Yankee fans that the red stains were ketchup.
A. ``You're either stupid or bitter if you think otherwise.''
Morgan, the doctor who performed the experimental procedure, said the accusation was ``hard to fathom.''
``Obviously, we put sutures in Curt Schilling's ankle right before he went out to pitch in a professional-level baseball game,'' Morgan said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. ``Sutures will pull with movement, and we completely expected a certain amount of blood to ooze from the wound. Socks are like sponges, and even a small amount of blood can soak a sock.''
Los Angeles Angels shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who played on Boston's World Series team, also came to his ex-teammate's defense.
``I was actually in the training room when he was getting the sutures, so I don't see no reason why he would have to paint blood on his sock,'' Cabrera said before Thursday's game against Tampa Bay. ``I don't know why people want to believe that it wasn't blood.
``He was really injured, and you could see when he was throwing.''
Schilling has said the sock from the Yankees game got tossed in the laundry. The one from the World Series is at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
``We have no reason to doubt Curt, who has a profound respect for the history of the game and is cognizant of his role as a history maker,'' Hall spokesman Jeff Idelson said. ``The stain on the sock is now brown, which is what happens to blood over time.''
AP Sports Writer Jaime Aron contributed to this story from Dallas, and AP freelance writer Joe Resnick contributed from Anaheim, Calif.

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