BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox interviewed Jim Bowden for a second time for their general manager’s job on Monday, but no decision was imminent in the team’s search to replace Theo Epstein.

Bowden, GM of the Washington Nationals and former GM for the Cincinnati Reds, met with Red Sox officials in Boston. The Red Sox also conducted a second interview during the weekend with Jim Beattie, former Baltimore Orioles executive vice president.

The Red Sox said more interviews will be held with a break for the Thanksgiving holiday. Boston would like a new GM in place before baseball’s winter meetings Dec. 5-8 in Dallas.

Boston also interviewed Dave Wilder on Saturday. He’s been the director of player development the past two seasons for the Chicago White Sox, who won the World Series last month.

Wilder met with Red Sox part-owner Tom Werner and president and chief executive officer Larry Lucchino, along with other members of the baseball operations staff.

Mariners sign MLB’s first Japanese catcher

SEATTLE – Catcher Kenji Jojima and the Seattle Mariners agreed Monday to a $16.5 million, three-year contract.

Jojima will be the first Japanese catcher to play in the major leagues. He visited Seattle Nov. 11-14 and met with Mariners executives. He also toured the city to assess its suitability for his family.

“This was a unique opportunity for us,” general manager Bill Bavasi said. “We had a chance to acquire offense at a premium position and we went after it aggressively.”

Jojima’s deal allows him to earn an additional $2.5 million in performance bonuses over the three seasons.

The Mariners’ most famous Japanese player is All-Star outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. He criticized the team this month in a Japanese newspaper for lacking leadership and direction.

An All-Star for the Fukoka Softbank Hawks, Jojima became a free agent on Nov. 8 after hitting .309 with 24 homers and 57 RBIs in 116 games in a season cut short by a broken left leg. He has seven straight Gold Gloves.

Pirates deal Bobby Hill to Padres

PITTSBURGH – Infielder Bobby Hill, acquired by Pittsburgh from the Cubs in the 2003 trade for third baseman Aramis Ramirez, was dealt to the San Diego Padres for a player to be named.

The Pirates removed Hill from their 40-man roster over the weekend and had 10 days to trade or release him.

Hill hit .269 with 11 RBIs in 58 games last season before being sent to Triple-A Indianapolis on July 22. In 2004, Hill hit .266 with two homers and 27 RBIs as a spare infielder and pinch-hitter.

Rose off Hall ballot in final year of eligibility

NEW YORK – The Hall of Fame’s doors will remain shut to Pete Rose, who won’t appear on the baseball writers’ ballot in his final year of eligibility.

Commissioner Bud Selig will not rule on Rose’s application for reinstatement before the 2006 ballot is released Nov. 29, according to Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer.

Rose, who last year admitted he did bet on the Cincinnati Reds while managing the team in the late 1980s, doesn’t understand why the rules, unless changed, won’t allow him to ever appear on the annual ballot of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

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