Cubs’ Epstein says he is not eyeing return to Red Sox

Sports

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Theo Epstein says he has no plans of returning to the Boston Red Sox.

Speculation in Boston has centered on Epstein possibly replacing Dave Dombrowski, who was fired Sept. 8 as the president of baseball operations for the Red Sox. Epstein is finishing his eighth season as the Chicago Cubs’ president of baseball operations.

“There is nothing to the story,” Epstein said Wednesday night before the Cubs played the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Epstein oversaw Boston’s baseball operations for eight seasons from 2003-10 before leaving to join the Cubs. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, their first title since 1918, then won again in 2007.

“I have a lot of great relationships with people who work for the Red Sox and I wish them the very best but there is nothing more to it,” Epstein said.

The Cubs entered play Wednesday on a seven-game losing streak and nearing elimination with five games left in the season. Either one win by Milwaukee or one loss by Chicago would knock the Cubs from the NL wild-card race.

Manager Joe Maddon’s five-year contract expires at the end of the season. Epstein declined to answer questions about Maddon’s future, saying “I want to leave that between Joe and I for now.”

Maddon led the Cubs to the postseason in each of his first four seasons, including an elusive World Series championship in 2016. That ended a 108-year title drought that stretched to 1908. His record since coming to Chicago is 449-336.

Maddon said he has not discussed his status with Epstein, though he added, “It’s also my decision, too,”

The Cubs entered play Wednesday having outscored their opponents by 104 runs (791-6870 but had a record of 82-75.

“It just doesn’t correlate, and we feel like we’ve left a lot on the table this season,” Epstein said.

Added Maddon, “We just weren’t able to get over the hump.”

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