Epstein turns down Sox's latest offer

Boston Red Sox: General manager Theo Epstein, who becomes a free agent on Nov. 1, turned down an offer of $1.2 million a season for at least three years, The Boston Globe reported.

It appears that money is not the only hurdle in the negotiations -- specifically a personality clash in management styles between Lucchino and Epstein.

It's not known if this offer is the Red Sox final one, but the matter is expected to be resolved either way in the next 24-48 hours, the paper reported.

Losing No. 1 and 2? Asssistant general manager Josh Byrnes interviewed with the Diamondbacks last week and is a leading candidate for the vacant GM job.

Byrnes, Epstein's top assistant for the last three years, and Padres GM Kevin Towers are believed to be the leading candidates.

Baltimore Orioles: Closer B.J. Ryan plans to enter the free agent market, Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan told the Baltimore Sun.

Ryan's agent, John Courtright, informed the club that they had no interest in negotiating during the team's 15-day exclusive window.

"We'll see when we get there, but we certainly have not been eliminated from that process," Flanagan told the paper. "It's what most players do when you've come this far. You're a couple of weeks away from being able to be a free agent. I can't think of too many cases where it's any different than that."

The Orioles will likely be up against big spenders like the New York Mets, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Still waiting on steroid policy
While Don Fehr, director of the baseball's players union, offered up a deadline of the end of the World Series for a new steroid proposal, it appears that mark won't be hit.

"We're working on it. We're doing our best," union labor lawyer Gene Orza told The San Francisco Chronicle. "We're talking virtually every day."

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Sept. 28, chaired by John McCain, Fehr was asked for a reasonable deadline for a new policy, and Fehr said, "Can I give you a precise date? No. Would I expect it to be by the end of the World Series? I would certainly hope so."

Rob Manfred, MLB's top labor lawyer, confirmed talks are in progress. Asked about the World Series deadline, he told the paper, "The World Series timetable was Don's timetable. We've done everything possible to try to meet that deadline. We've had a lot of discussions, but we don't have an agreement. The commissioner has been ready to get it done forever. He wanted it done in April, in May ..."

Meanwhile, senators McCain and Jim Bunning are moving forward with separate bills that would impose a two-year suspension for performance-enhancing drugs and lifetime ban for second offense.

Cleveland Indians: Indians pitcher Cliff Lee underwent
arthroscopic surgery Wednesday for a hernia, and is expected to be
fully recovered for the start of training camp in February.

The 27-year-old left-hander, 18-5 with a 3.79 ERA in 32 starts
last season, had the surgery in Philadelphia. It was a follow-up to
a more extensive operation after the 2003 season.

Florida Marlins: New manager Joe Girardi made his first hire, naming Bobby Meacham as his third-base coach, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

Meacham, 45, spent last season as a minor league infield instructor in the Rockies system. Previously he managed in the Pirates organization.

Kruk gets field
Keyser High School's new baseball field has
been named for alumnus and former major leaguer John Kruk.

"John Kruk has certainly made a positive contribution to
Keyser," schools Superintendent Skip Hackworth said. "He talks
about Keyser on his shows, brought a lot of notoriety to the
community and has excelled in his field."

Kruk, now an analyst on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight," went on to play for the San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox. He was a key member of the Phillies' team that won the National League pennant in 1993.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.