Curt Schilling said he will become a free agent after the season and won’t let that distract him during his fourth year with the Boston Red Sox. General manager Theo Epstein wouldn’t rule out in-season discussions for a new contract. At a brief meeting between the two Wednesday, Epstein told the pitching ace the team would not give him an extension during spring training, as Schilling had wished. “Curt’s going to be 41, and at that age we’ve got to be a little more conservative,” Epstein said Thursday from the team’s Fort Myers, Fla., site. “I want to keep feeling good every day. I don’t want to take any step back. That’s why I’m going so slow. I want to build my arm strength, get all the scar tissues out of my surgeries,” Gagne said. “I’m just trying to get back to all my pitching muscles which I didn’t use for two years.” New plan: Manny Ramirez changed plans and will not attend a car auction Saturday in New Jersey while his Boston Red Sox teammates work out at spring training, the team said. The Red Sox gave Ramirez permission to report late to camp on March 1, the day after their first exhibition, for family reasons. The left fielder’s mother recently had surgery. Epstein said after learning about Ramirez’s scheduled appearance at the auction, he spoke with Greg Genske, the slugger’s agent. “He said (Ramirez) is not going to be there, so it’s fine,” Epstein said. “He’s dealing with a family issue.” Injury update: Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Xavier Nady was released from a Florida hospital two days after being admitted for intestinal inflammation … New York Mets pitcher Orlando Hernandez has arthritis in his neck and will be sidelined for three or four days after receiving a cortisone shot. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “It doesn’t mean we don’t want him back. I have all the confidence in the world that if Curt wants to pitch in 2008 and he’s still pitching effectively, as I expect he will, then we’ll find a way to keep him in a Red Sox uniform.” Epstein also said Schilling will be the Opening Day starter April 2 in Kansas City. Gagne update: New Texas Rangers closer Eric Gagne threw 15-20 pitches in quick succession, then took a short break and did it again after a 10-minute bullpen session and reported no pain. “It was good, fluid. There were some good ones, some bad ones,” Gagne said of his second bullpen session, his second this week. “It doesn’t hurt, nothing. … I’m probably going 50-60 percent. It went well, I’m encouraged again today.” Gagne’s primary goal is to get used to being on the mound again and building arm strength after two injury- plagued seasons with the Dodgers. He has had as many appearances as surgeries – two – last year.