Sources: Epstein announcement several days away

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Sources: Epstein announcement several days away

With the clock ticking and time running short, it now seems more likely that any official announcement to introduce Theo Epstein as head of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs will have to wait at least several days, with a chance that any introductory press conference could be delayed until after the conclusion of the World Series, multiple industry sources indicated Monday.

"Significant work," remains to be done on the matter of compensation to the Red Sox, one source said, and Tuesday is the last day any announcements can be made without permission from the commissioner's office.

Commissioner Bud Selig has long had a rule in which teams are, with few exceptions, prohibited from making news once the World Series gets underway. Game 1 between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals is Wednesday night in St. Louis.

The Red Sox and Cubs, once far apart in determining what the Cubs would have to give up in order to hire away Epstein, have made progress in recent days, but have yet to come close on an agreement, a person familiar with the talks said.

That rules out any sort of announcement being held Tuesday in Chicago. The earliest window for an announcement after that would be Friday, a scheduled off-day in the Series.

Such a timetable, however, would be dependent on Selig's permission, along with a resolution on the compensation issue that currently has the teams at an impasse.

The Red Sox kicked off the negotiations by asking for pitcher Matt Garza, a request the Cubs rejected out of hand. The Cubs, one baseball person said, continue to stress to the Red Sox that compensation issues for non-uniform personnel has historically been minimal. It's the view of the Red Sox that, given the magnitude of the deal being given to Epstein and owner Tom Ricketts's desire to have Epstein run his organization's baseball operations department, that this deal defies precedent.

The Sox have an interest in pitching prospect Trey McNutt, though his inclusion in a compensation package is far from guaranteed at this point.

It's likely that the Red Sox will also receive a second, lesser prospect.

One issue that is not a sticking point, contrary to multiple reports, is the matter of which current Red Sox employees would join Epstein in Chicago. A mutual understanding is in place that Epstein will not "raid" the Red Sox baseball operations department.

Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

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Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

NEW YORK -- Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a terrific 2015, his second full season in the big leagues.

He finished second in the American League batting race, established himself as a solid defender at short and generally showed immense promise.

The only thing he didn't do was show much home run power, limited to just seven homers.

This past spring, both manager John Farrell and Chili Davis expressed confidence that the home runs would come, and that they would come organically.

And so they have. In Thursday night's loss to the New York Yankees, a solo homer in the fifth by Bogaerts represented the only Red Sox run of the night in a 5-1 loss. It also gave Bogaerts 21 homers for the year, exactly triple his output from a year ago.

"The maturity is clearly taking hold," said John Farrell of Bogaerts' growth. "You start to get a couple thousand at-bats at the major league level, you're starting to understand your swing, you're picking out certain counts in which to leverage a little bit more. He's been able to do that.

"Home runs are up across the board. But with Xander in particular, he's physically maturing and he's maturing as a major league player as well."

Bogaerts took the advise of Davis and others and didn't set out to try to hit more homers this year. He knew they would come in time.

"Maybe not this quick," he said of the big increase, "but probably in the future, yeah. That's what I did in the minor leagues, so it's kind of something that I thought might translate to the big leagues, too."

Bogaerts is hard-pressed to put his finger on any on factor to explain the big uptick. After all, he didn't change his swing or his stance.

Rather, the homers came as a result of him understanding himself better as a hitter and consistently taking the right approach at the plate.

"It's just (a matter of) taking good swings in good counts," he offered. "Sometimes, you're looking for one. But overall, it's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose."

It hasn't hurt that he's surrounded by quality hitters in the Red Sox lineup, with Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia ahead of him earlier in the year, and now Pedrioa ahead of him and David Ortiz behind him.

In addition to seeing better pitches because of who's surrounding him, Bogaerts has also benefitted from listening to Ortiz, who watches his at-bats and offers advice when called for.

Still, most of the credit belongs to Bogaerts himself, who has grown into his power naturally -- just as his manager and hitting coach forecast.

Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

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Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

NEW YORK -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Yankees:

QUOTES

* "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving." David Ortiz, unaccustomed to ovations and cheering at Yankee Stadium.

* "I thought he threw a high number of strikes. There was good swing-and-miss to his changeup and he took the opportunity and showed well." John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "It's just taking good swings in good counts. It's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose." Xander Bogaerts, who has tripled his homer output since last year.

NOTES:

* With his fourth-inning homer, Xander Bogaerts tripled his home run total from last year, improving from seven to 21.

* The season series between the Red Sox and Yankees ended with the Sox winning 11 of the 18 games.

* The Boston bullpen has given up eight runs in the last two nights after allowing only seven this month before Wednesday night.

* The Sox suffered only their second sweep of the season. They were also swept by the Tigers in July.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. has reached base safely in his last 13 games.

* Junichi Tazawa has contributed seven straight scoreless outings.

* Robbie Ross Jr. allowed a season-high three walks -- all in the same inning.

* Henry Owens has a career ERA of 8.53 against the Yankees.

* David Ortiz went hitless (0-for-11) in his final series at Yankee Stadium.

STARS:

1) CC Sabathia

Sabathia turned back the clock and looked like a far younger version of himself, pitching into the eighth and allowed just a run on four hits while striking out eighth.

2) Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury had a hand in the first Yankee run -- walk, stolen base, run scored -- and doubled home the second run in the fifth inning.

3) Xander Bogaerts

The Sox had little offense on the night, but Bogaerts smoked a solo homer in the fourth to account for their only run.