Epstein, Lucchino: Progress in GM contract talks

BOSTON -- Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, whose
contract expires Monday, and president Larry Lucchino reported
progress in negotiations after they met Thursday.

They issued a brief statement one day after the Boston Globe
reported that Epstein had turned down an offer of at least three
years at $1.2 million per year on Tuesday.

"We had a meeting over lunch today to continue our discussions
and to conduct other business as well." they said in a joint
statement. "We made progress, but we anticipate no further
statement until there is something to announce. We are hopeful that
these discussions will work out for the best. In the meantime, we
continue 'business as usual.' "

Lucchino, Epstein and team owner John Henry did not respond to
e-mails from The Associated Press.

Epstein became the youngest general manager in baseball history
when the Red Sox hired him five weeks shy of his 29th birthday in
2002. He signed a three-year contract that paid about $350,000 a

For the first time in their history, the Red Sox reached the
playoffs in each of Epstein's three seasons and, last year, won
their first World Series championship since 1918. In 2003, they
lost in the seventh game of the AL championship series to the New
York Yankees in seven games and, this year, were swept by the
Chicago White Sox in three games in the AL Division Series.

Negotiations on a new contract intensified after the Red Sox
were eliminated.

Epstein, a lifelong Red Sox fan who grew up near Fenway Park,
worked previously for two teams where Lucchino was president and
CEO, beginning as an intern with the Baltimore Orioles in 1992.
Lucchino moved on to San Diego in 1995 and Epstein went there as
part of the team's baseball staff in 1997. He was director of
baseball operations for the Padres before joining the Red Sox as an
assistant general manager after a group headed by Henry took over
ownership on Feb. 27, 2002.