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Source: Boston eyed Chris Capuano

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox made an unsuccessful attempt to acquire pitcher Chris Capuano from the New York Mets this week in the hopes of having the veteran left-hander start against the Yankees on Sunday in New York, a league source confirmed.

"It's dead," the source said.

A source told ESPNNewYork.com that the Mets did treat the inquiry from the Red Sox serious enough that they held back Miguel Batista the first day of the series in St. Louis and did not use him in relief in case he needed to be a spot starter Thursday in place of Capuano. Batista subsequently was used in the series in relief when it became clear the trade wouldn't happen.

Capuano said the Mets never briefed him about a potential trade to the Red Sox, and he did not even learn there had been dialogue between the teams until after his no-decision in Thursday's comeback win in St. Louis.

"I heard about it after the game," Capuano said. "I'm glad I didn't know about it. Today I just tried to focus on the game. It didn't happen, so I don't know if there's much more to talk about."

The Red Sox are currently in a bind for Sunday as they fight to hold onto their 2½-game wild-card lead. Manager Terry Francona has already ruled out Erik Bedard, who would have been on regular rest, for the game. John Lackey, who has a 10.40 ERA in four September starts, is still an option to start that game on five days' rest. Reliever Alfredo Aceves could also be a possibility, though he pitched 1 2/3 innings in Wednesday's loss to Baltimore.

A team source said Thursday that there was "nothing on the radar" in terms of adding a pitcher from the outside to start Sunday. If the Red Sox did deal for a player, he would be ineligible for the postseason. Players acquired after Aug. 31 are ineligible to be on playoff rosters.

Capuano, a Springfield, Mass., native, will remain with the Mets for the remainder of the season. He's 11-12 with a 4.47 ERA.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson would not speak about specific trade talks, but he offered some reasons why such a deal might fall apart.

"It could be a number of reasons for it -- not getting back what you think is fair compensation, wanting to finish the season as strongly as possible, perhaps wanting to retain a player from one year to the next," he said.

The Boston Herald originally reported the Red Sox's interest in Capuano.

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin was used in this report.