Friday, January 20, 2006

The Return of Epstein

The Boston Red Sox still need a shortstop and a center fielder. They brought back the guy who can find them. Theo Epstein will return to the team he built into a World Series winner, he and the team said Thursday night in a joint statement that did not say what his role would be.

His long-rumored return comes 2 1/2 months after he turned down a contract extension and fled Fenway Park in a gorilla suit to avoid the encamped media.

"As you know, we have spoken frequently during the last 10 weeks," the statement said. "We have engaged in healthy, spirited debates about what it will take over the long-term for the Red Sox to remain a great organization and, in fact, become a more effective organization in philosophy, approaches and ideals.

"Ironically, Theo's departure has brought us closer together in many respects, and, thanks to these conversations, we now enjoy the bonds of a shared vision for the organization's future that did not exist on Oct. 31. With this vision in place, Theo will return to the Red Sox in a full-time baseball operations capacity, details of which will be announced next week."

Epstein declined to elaborate on the statement, which also came from principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Larry Lucchino. The team would not comment on how Epstein will fit into the organization's hierarchy, but Henry denied that Lucchino's role was diminished to lure Epstein back.

Oh, the drama in Boston.......


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