Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling described his injured right ankle as "very sore" Monday afternoon, one day after he pitched his team to victory with six solid innings in Game 2 of the World Series. However, Schilling declined to speculate as to whether he would be available to start a potential Game 6 at Fenway Park.

"I'm not even thinking about that yet," Schilling said, as the Red Sox prepared for an optional workout at Busch Stadium. "I'm doing [the same recuperation routine] I did leading up to the last game."

Following Sunday night's win, Red Sox doctors removed the sutures that were inserted the day before to hold the tendon on the inside of his right ankle in place. The tendon had become displaced and will need to be repaired surgically after the season.

Schilling's availability for Game 6 came into question when team doctor Bill Morgan told the Associated Press on Sunday that it is unlikely Schilling can undergo the suturing procedure again.

But General Manager Theo Epstein said Morgan denied making the remarks and denied even having a conversation with the Associated Press reporter. A digital recording of the conversation between Morgan and the reporter exists, though Epstein declined to listen to it when offered by the Associated Press.

"Maybe it was taken out of context," Epstein said. "I think it was a misinterpretation."

Also on Monday, Schilling acknowledged that he suffered a strained hip flexor during Sunday night's third inning, possibly caused by overcompensating for the weakened ankle. He declined to address how serious the hip injury was.

Ortiz on First

With no designated hitter available in the National League ballpark, David Ortiz will be the starting first baseman on Tuesday. Kevin Millar will likely sit on the bench as the left-handed Trot Nixon will start in right field against Cardinals right-hander Jeff Suppan.

"He's a sweet first baseman," Manny Ramirez said. "People maybe judge him wrong. David could do the job."

Epstein said the team had Ortiz take ground balls at first base prior to signing him before the 2003 season. Ortiz's ability to handle the position encouraged the team to make an offer.

"He's a big guy that doesn't have range, but his feet can work around the bag," Epstein said.

Ortiz, who is hitting .417 with five home runs and 19 RBI in the postseason, played 36 games at first base this year and made four errors.

Suppan a Familiar Face

Suppan will face the team that left him off the roster in the American League Division Series last year. He was on the roster for Boston in the ALCS against the New York Yankees but did not make an appearance. Suppan was a midseason acquisition for the Red Sox last year, but struggled and didn't contribute in the postseason.

"I didn't pitch very well," said Suppan, who was 3-4 with a 5.57 ERA with Boston after coming over from Pittsburgh. "I think I had a long break, a lot of excitement going back there and I got out of that groove I was in when I was with the Pirates. But I think it worked out great."

This year Suppan was 16-9 in the regular season with a 4.16 ERA for the Cardinals. In the postseason he is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA. . . .

Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa was upset at the accommodations offered to his team during the first two games of the World Series in Boston. The Cardinals stayed in Quincy, Mass., 15 miles from Fenway Park but 45 minutes away in heavy traffic. After Games 1 and 2, La Russa said the team had trouble getting out of the stadium, onto the highway and back to the hotel, which had no late-night room service but did provide bar type food, according to La Russa.

"Hopefully, we can get back to Boston and we can take care of that ourselves," La Russa said. . . .

Pedro Martinez's little friend, Nelson De La Rosa, has yet to make an appearance at the World Series. De La Rosa, the 28-inch Dominican actor, was a good luck charm for the Red Sox during their wins in the two playoff series.

Ramirez said the team is doing fine without him. "He's all right," Ramirez said. "We don't need him. We've been playing well without him."