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Epstein hasn't inked pact

NEW YORK -- Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is working without a signed contract. The popular young executive, who resigned on Halloween then agreed Jan. 19 to return to the Sox, has yet to sign his new deal.

''We have a verbal agreement," said Epstein, who is not with the team in New York, but returned a phone call from the Globe. ''We haven't gotten around to formalizing it. We trust each other and we have an understanding. I don't have a problem with it, John [owner John Henry] doesn't have a problem with it, and Larry [CEO Larry Lucchino] doesn't have a problem with it."

Terms of Epstein's contract were not disclosed when he returned to Fenway in a highly-publicized press conference Jan. 25. At that time, when Epstein was queried about the oddity of no disclosure regarding the number of years in his new deal, the GM said, ''If there's no [publicly known] end date [to my contract] we can't have an all-too-public negotiation ever again. That's part of the point. Through our words and actions, we're demonstrating a long-term commitment to making this work."

Last night, Epstein and Henry insisted there was nothing newsworthy about the fact that the GM has been working without a signed contract for almost four months.

''As far as I'm concerned, we have a contract," said Henry in a telephone call from Boston. ''We shook hands. We have a number of people in baseball ops that have not signed contracts. I doubt that this has anything to do with anything other than the fact that they haven't gotten around to it."

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