Struggling Red Sox reliever Keith Foulke returned to Boston yesterday for an examination on his left knee.

A team source said no decision had been made on whether Foulke will return this season, but a source familiar with his injury, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Foulke is headed for surgery.

A day after falling out of first place in the AL East for the first time since July 18, the Red Sox sent Foulke home from the road trip to see team physician Thomas Gill.

Foulke was a star of Boston's championship run last year, nailing down all four victories in the World Series sweep of the Cardinals. But he's struggled this season, posting a 5-5 record and a 5.91 ERA.

Foulke had arthroscopic surgery on July 7 to repair cartilage in his left knee. He missed two months while recovering, and has not pitched in a save situation since returning from the disabled list Sept. 1.

The Red Sox signed Foulke in the wake of their bullpen meltdown in Yankee Stadium in the 2003 playoffs, giving him a contract that could pay him $26.5 million over four seasons. He earned it last year, when he was 5-3 with 32 saves and a 2.17 ERA.

* SUCCESS AND OUT FOR GUILLEN? There's seldom a dull moment with Ozzie Guillen as manager. His latest is this: If he leads the White Sox to their first World Series title since 1917, he might quit after just two seasons on the job.

Guillen says it's not a ploy to take the pressure off his slumping team that has nearly squandered a 15-game lead in AL Central. And he's not considering walking away because of the booing he's getting or job stress -- although he admits to sometimes vomiting after losses.

"A pretty good chance. Because I want to leave with my head up and do something nobody else did before," said Guillen, under fire from fans and the media almost daily.

"It would give me a good chance to accomplish everything in my career," he said.

General Manager Kenny Williams said he had not taken reports of Guillen's desire to leave seriously.

-- From News Services

Red Sox reliever Keith Foulke, who hasn't pitched in a save situation since having knee surgery, returned to Boston to be examined.