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Teixeira in play....at least until Papi shows he's healthy

Posted by Gordon Edes, Globe Staff  July 14, 2008 04:11 PM

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NEW YORK -- The Red Sox have talked to the Braves about free-agent-to-be first baseman Mark Teixeira, and more conversations are likely to take place before the July 31 trading deadline, according to well-placed major league sources.

ESPN's Peter Gammons was the first to report that the talks had taken place, and it is true that the Braves asked for first baseman Kevin Youkilis and Craig Hansen in return. Would the Sox make that deal? Not at the moment, but the message they left with the Braves was keep us in mind. The Braves, according to those sources, have their doubts that the Sox would move Youkilis, because of his ability to play both first and third and his defensive skills at both positions.

And if David Ortiz proves he's healthy on his rehab assignment, the Sox may hold off on any pursuit of Teixeira until after the season, when he's a free agent. The other key factor: The Braves have yet to decide if they're going to trade Teixeira; if they're still within striking distance of first place in the NL East as the deadline nears, they may back off. Atlanta is currently 45-50 and in fourth place in the NL East, 6 1/2 games back of first-place Philly.

Other trade talk here: The Phillies reportedly are trying to make a deal for Toronto's A.J. Burnett, and a whole bunch of teams -- Tampa Bay, Philly, Yankees -- have interest in Rockies lefty reliever Brian Fuentes.

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