PORTLAND (AP) – Talk of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ trying to woo the Red Sox isn’t sitting well with the Portland Sea Dogs.

The New Hampshire Union Leader quoted Fisher Cats majority owner Arthur Solomon as saying his organization will “try our best” to get the Sox to come to New Hampshire. He also said he reached an agreement for the Fisher Cats to play the Portland Sea Dogs at Fenway Park.

Portland general manager Charles Eshbach said trying to tamper with Portland’s player development agreement with the Red Sox would violate Eastern League rules.

And no one else seemed to be aware of any agreement in which the Fisher Cats would play a minor league game at Fenway Park.

“The Fisher Cats are not playing a game at Fenway in 2006,” Ben Cherington, the Red Sox director of player development, told the Portland Press Herald in an e-mail from the major league general managers’ meeting in Indian Wells, Calif. Solomon was not able to clarify his remarks. The Eastern League has launched an investigation and has ordered him to keep quiet.

In Wednesday’s newspaper account, Solomon pointed out to a luncheon group in Bedford, N.H., that Portland’s player development contract with the Red Sox and the Fisher Cats’ agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays both expire in 2008.

He also noted that Red Sox president Larry Lucchino was impressed with the Manchester park in September. “He just flipped,” Solomon said.

Eastern League President Joe McEacharn said Solomon told him that he feels bad about the situation, that “things may have been misquoted,” and that he has no plans to secure a player development agreement with the Red Sox.

Nonetheless, there will be an investigation. “He will not be making any (more) private or public comments about this,” McEacharn said.

AP-ES-11-11-05 1139EST


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