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Theo Epstein

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According to the Boston Globe, the Boston Red Sox have strong interest in a pair of Japanese righthanders, but general manager Theo Epstein would not comment on the extent of it, saying international negotiations are confidential.

The Sox are heavily involved with righthander Junichi Tazawa, 22, who played in the amateur Industrial League. The Braves have made Tazawa a major league offer, and the Mariners are expected to make one by next week. Epstein would not say whether the Sox made their offer, but indications are that they have.

The Sox also have interest in Kenshin Kawakami, a 33-year-old righty for the Chunichi Dragons who went 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA last season. Kawakami is a Hiroki Kuroda-type pitcher with a cut fastball and good curveball who could man the No. 4 or 5 spot in the Sox rotation.

The Sox are likely to add a veteran starter, which still could be Paul Byrd. They also have been linked to White Sox righty Javier Vazquez. Derek Lowe has made Boston his No. 1 preference, but the Sox might not want to spend that type of money.


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