Selig to Sox and Cubs: You're on the clock

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Selig to Sox and Cubs: You're on the clock

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Talks to determine the compensation for the Red Sox from the Chicago Cubs for allowing Theo Epstein to leave Boston with a year remaining on his contract are on hold until after the teams introduce their respective executives Tuesday, a source familiar with the negotiations said.

After 10 days of back-and-forth proposals failed to produce a settlement on the matter of compensation, Epstein resigned as executive vice-president and general manager of the Red Sox Friday night and was named president of Baseball Operations for the Cubs.

The idea was that Epstein and Red Sox assistant GM Ben Cherington would continue to work on the compensation issue, but no further talks are scheduled until after Epstein is introduced Tuesday at Wrigley Field and Cherington is named his successor at Fenway.

If Epstein and Cherington can't settle the issue before Nov. 1, commissioner Bud Selig said Sunday night he would intervene.

"They have until Nov. 1 -- Theo and Ben and all the other parties involved," said Selig prior to the start of Game 4 of the World Series. "Hopefully they can get things done. I always encourage clubs to try to get things done between themselves. Somehow, the commissioner has enough things of controversy to deal with.

"They'll either get it done or they won't. If they don't, then I will."

Selig said he wasn't bothered by the movement of executives since the regular season ended. In addition to Epstein leaving the Red Sox, San Diego GM Jed Hoyer will leave the Padres to become GM of the Cubs.

"We've had two or three clubs that have changed," said Selig. "We've also had 27 that haven't changed anybody. It's not a stability question. Every so often, in the evolution of these things, there are times when people change. Sometimes, people feel the shelf life of somebody in one place is enough. I don't happen to feel that way, but I know they do. I'm not concerned about stability, no."

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

Blake Swihart wasn't going to win a job. Monday merely made that official.

Swihart was optioned out as the Red Sox made further cuts, sending a player who could still be the Red Sox catcher of the future -- well, one of them anyway -- to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's expected to work on his receiving.

Swihart hit .325 in 40 Grapefruit League at-bats.

"Had a very strong camp and showed improvements defensively. Swung the bat very well," manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida.  "For the player that he is and the person that he is, you love him as a person. He's a hell of a talented player.

"He made some subtle adjustments with his setup [defensively]. That gave him a different look to pitchers on the mound. Pitchers talked positively about the look that they got from him behind the plate. I think it softened his hands somewhat to receive the ball better. And there were a number of occasions where he was able to get a pitchers' pitch called for a strike, so the presentation of the umpire was a little bit more subtle and consistent then maybe years' past."

Sandy Leon's hot hitting in 2016 earned him an automatic crack at the lead catching spot for this year. Combined with the fact that Christian Vazquez looks great defensively, went deep on Sunday and is out of options, Swihart was the obvious odd man out.

He had options, the others didn't.

Deven Marrero was also optioned to Pawtucket. Sam Travis -- who, like Swihart, could break camp with the 2018 team -- was reassigned to minor-league camp, as was catcher Dan Butler.

The Sox have 38 players left in camp, 32 from the 40-man roster.

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Righty Tyler Thornburg seems a guarantee to join David Price on the disabled list to start the season.

Thornburg, the biggest acquisition Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made for the bullpen this winter, was scratched Monday because of a spasm in his upper right trapezius — not a great sign for a pitcher who already had throwing shoulder issues this spring.

Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida the spasm was “not shoulder related.”  But the trap, a large muscle along the neck and back, does extend to the shoulder blade.

Dombrowski told reporters it is most likely that Thornburg starts the year on the disabled list. More is expected to be known Tuesday, possibly after an MRI.

Robby Scott could be a replacement for Thornburg. If so, the Sox would likely have three lefties in the bullpen, along with Fernando Abad and Robbie Ross Jr.

"Possibly. Possibly," Dombrowski said of Scott. “We still have to make those decisions. But possibly.”

Dombrowski didn’t indicate a desire to go outside the organization for now.

Thornburg had barely enough time to get ready for Opening Day prior to Monday’s setback. If he indeed starts the season on the DL, Joe Kelly would be the eighth-inning reliever for the Sox — a role Kelly was headed for anyway given Thornburg’s shaky spring.

Thornburg, 28, had a 2.15 ERA last season for the Brewers. The Sox picked him up at the winter meetings in a deal that sent Travis Shaw and prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers.