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Henry hopes for another 10 years as Red Sox owner

December 15, 2011
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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—John Henry and his partners are approaching their 10th anniversary as owners of the Boston Red Sox. He'd like to keep the team for at least another decade.

While Fenway Park will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2012, the ownership group, which includes Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino, took over on Feb. 27, 2002, when the sale closed.

Henry spoke Thursday at the Rhode Island State House after a news conference to announce a new scholarship program of the Red Sox Foundation.

"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished off the field," he said. "It's up to others to say what we've accomplished on the field, but we feel very proud about what has happened in the last 10 years. It's been the best 10 years of our lives. Tom and Larry, the three of us, we talk about it all the time.

"We're hopeful to do this at least another 10 years."

The Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, but the last month of last season was probably the worst since they took over. Boston went 7-20, blew a nine-game lead and lost the AL wild-card spot to the Tampa Bay Rays on the last day of the regular season amid problems in the clubhouse.

Afterward, Terry Francona left as manager and general manager Theo Epstein became president of the Chicago Cubs. Bobby Valentine replaced Francona and Ben Cherington took over for Epstein.

This week the Red Sox signed catcher Kelly Shoppach and utility infielder Nick Punto as free agents and traded for Houston Astros closer Mark Melancon.

"It's turning into a productive offseason," Henry said, adding that the club is staying within budgetary bounds that were set up long ago. "Every year we've been through changes. This was bigger ... but that doesn't lead to chaos, just because people leave. That was the impression of some."

He said the Red Sox knew "a couple of years ago" that Cherington, who had been assistant general manager, would become general manager.

"I think we really thought it was going to be next year, not this year," Henry said, "but he was completely ready."

So was his energetic new manager.

"He's ready. Boy, is he ready," Henry said. "He's covered a lot of ground already."

He said Valentine's decision to go to the Dominican Republic and meet recently with designated hitter David Ortiz was the new manager's decision, "as far as I know."

Ortiz later agreed to go to arbitration with the Red Sox rather than seek free agent offers.

The new program will award one scholarship to a student from 10 different Rhode Island high schools and will be funded by the sale of Red Sox charity license plates in the state, Henry said.

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