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February 19, 2009

Boston owner John Henry renews salary cap call

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Boston Red Sox owner John Henry renewed his call for a salary cap on Wednesday after an offseason in which the New York Yankees added three free agents for $423.5 million.

Or, as Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said, "the Yankees have spent like the U.S. Congress."

And while Boston's chief rival opens a new $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium on April 3, Lucchino said Fenway Park, built in 1912, should be around for another 50 years.

More immediately, the Red Sox owners are troubled by the wide disparity in team payrolls that they say limits competitive balance in baseball — even though Boston had the second-highest payroll at the end of last season.

A salary cap, Lucchino said, is "as inevitable as tomorrow."

The Yankees ownership and even major league players might agree to a salary cap, Henry said.

"It depends on the overall picture," he said. "How does that relate to revenue sharing? We've gone as far as we can go with revenue sharing at this point.

"I think we all agree that competitive balance is an issue and if there was a way to put together an enlightened form of a salary cap, I think everybody among the ownership parties would support it. I think it's quite possible to put together a partnership between the players and owners going forward. I think it's something that should be at least explored."

Henry, Lucchino and Red Sox chairman and part-owner Tom Werner held their annual session with reporters Wednesday, the first official workout day for the entire squad.

Henry's call came exactly five years after he first proposed a salary cap in the wake of the Yankees' trade for Alex Rodriguez after the Red Sox failed in their attempt to obtain him from the Texas Rangers.

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