BOSTON (AP) – The Red Sox turned down repeated requests for their young pitchers Monday and stood pat as the trading deadline passed, even though the Yankees made their second deal in as many days.

Lefty starter Jon Lester and righty relievers Manny Delcarmen and Craig Hansen, all rookies, have pitched well for Boston, which began the day leading the AL East by a half-game over New York.

“We were asked over and over again for our young pitchers,” Epstein said one hour after the 4 p.m. EDT deadline for non-waiver deals. “As much as we desperately wanted to help our team, it would have been shortsighted to sacrifice our plan.”

Speculation also had swirled around second baseman Mark Loretta, third baseman Mike Lowell and outfielder Wily Mo Pena.

All are in their first season with Boston and were relieved to be staying.

“It should give all of us who are here confidence,” Loretta said. “I think we’re a first-place team with the guys we’ve had here all year long and we feel like if we play up to our capabilities we’ll be right there.”

For the second straight year, the Red Sox made no deals on the day of the deadline. But last year’s rumors were much more volatile, centering around Manny Ramirez.

Amid those rumors, manager Terry Francona took Ramirez out of the lineup the day before the deadline and offered him two days to clear his head. Ramirez didn’t start the next day either, but less than an hour after the deadline, he drove in the winning run with a pinch-hit single in a 4-3 win over Minnesota in Boston.

In 2004, Epstein traded shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs at the deadline and Boston went on to its first World Series title in 86 years.

This year Boston has led its division for most of the season but hasn’t been able to shake the Yankees, who have been hit hard by injuries to outfielders Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield and second baseman Robinson Cano.

The Yankees obtained infielder-outfielder Craig Wilson from Pittsburgh on Monday one day after trading for outfielder Bobby Abreu and pitcher Cory Lidle from Philadelphia.

“Let’s remember that the Yankees probably wouldn’t have needed to make that (Abreu) move unless they had some severe injuries,” Loretta said. “We’ve been fortunate not to have catastrophic injuries like that.”

Epstein stuck by his philosophy of remaining a playoff contender each year while not sacrificing the future.

“Our approach as an organization to the Yankees is to respect them, to assume they’re going to win around 100 games, and to forget about them until October,” he said. “To get emotional, reactive, would be to throw out the window everything we believe in.”

He did come close to some deals.

“In the end, we didn’t think it was worth it,” Epstein said. “As disappointed as we are not to add a significant piece, we’re proud of the results.”

The Red Sox still can make a trade, but any player involved must clear waivers and teams with poorer records than them can claim him to block a deal.

“I think everybody’s glad” the deadline passed, Francona said. “I wish I could sit here and guarantee that we’re good enough to win. I can’t do that. In saying that, I really do like our club.”

Loretta and Lowell are part of an outstanding infield defense and have been solid offensively.

“I’m not forfeiting my minor league system for a stopgap guy for two months,” Lowell said. “Some of these stopgap deals are really overrated. I really enjoy playing here.”

So does Pena, who originally was upset when he was traded from Cincinnati during spring training.

“I know my name was in the papers a lot,” he said. “If I got traded that was OK. But I’m good.”

One false report Sunday had Loretta being traded and leaving Fenway Park in street clothes. It also said his wife was in tears.

“I don’t know how that started,” he said. “So that got kind or interesting, but it wasn’t too bad.”

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