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"I never told a general manager who he should trade or shouldn't trade. That's not up to me. ... We believe in Theo. He thought he was doing what was in the best interests of the organization." -- JOHN HENRY, Red Sox owner

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Page 3 of 3 -- "No. 1, don't come back too early. He said, `I'm coming back today.' I said, `Wow.' I also said, `I want to sit down and meet with you one on one.' He said, `I'm coming back right now; I've got too much on my mind.'

"I wanted to sit down with him and remind him of the chronology of events that had occurred, just to make sure he understood why we went the A-Rod route."

That one-on-one meeting never took place. Instead, Henry said, there was the July 24 meeting at Fenway Park while the Sox and Yankees were waiting for rain to let up so they could start their game. The purpose of that meeting was twofold, Henry said. One was to ask Garciaparra what he thought could be done to help the Sox and to help him. The other, Henry said, was to ask Garciaparra why he seemed so unhappy.

Said Henry, "The next day, after that meeting -- I don't know if I'm breaking a confidence, my general manager will probably be mad at me -- I got a phone call from Theo, who said that he had talked to Arn, who said that prior to that meeting he had to talk Nomar out of demanding a trade. We knew from that that he didn't want to be here."

So was there a fissure? "Obviously there was," Henry said.

"That was why I wanted to remind him of the Dec. 5 call between Arn and Theo when negotiations broke down between Theo and Arn. That's the point at which the A-Rod stuff took off."

Even after that, Epstein said Monday, he told Tellem that if Garciaparra accepted the Sox' four-year, $48 million offer, the team would abandon its pursuit of Rodriguez. He conveyed the same message to Garciaparra in a phone conversation just before flying to New York to meet with Rodriguez, a meeting he told Garciaparra he was planning to have.

Garciaparra rejected that proposal, and in a telephone interview Monday night made it clear he was unwilling to accept a proposal so far below what the Sox had offered the previous spring.

Henry, asked if he understood why Garciaparra might have been offended, said: "Why would you be offended? I guess you could take offense. This spring we offered him $60 million again in a meeting with Arn. Granted, it wasn't all up front. A portion of it was deferred. I didn't think the deferrals were a big deal because the Red Sox would be there and the interest rates were low.

"We were trying to find a way to sign him. We never received a counteroffer to any of the proposals we made.

"Has any position player been paid $15 million in average annual value since Manny [Ramirez]? The answer is no. No one who is healthy. No one who has an injury."

Henry said that at one point he thought he had a good relationship with Garciaparra and feared that his meeting with Rodriguez would jeopardize that. "It certainly didn't help," he said.

Asked if he thought Garciaparra might have misled the Sox about his injury to facilitate a trade, Henry said: "I would have a hard time believing that. How did he look to you on the field? Did he look hurt? I see a lot of heads nod from people who watch the team every day. To me, we had every reason to believe him."

But Henry also said he was surprised that the Cubs evidently felt differently about the injury, to the point where they would make a deal. Did he suspect the Cubs were getting information from someone in the Garciaparra camp that painted a different picture?

"That would be pure speculation on my part," he said. "I have no knowledge of that."

Both Epstein, who also was present here, and Lucchino, who appeared on NESN in the team's pregame show, also addressed some of the controversy spawned by the trade.

"It's unfortunate," Epstein said. "I was reading the papers on the plane today on the way down here. The thing that kept popping into my mind is it's best for everyone to turn the page." 

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