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Lawton violates steroid policy

Former All-Star outfielder Matt Lawton was suspended Wednesday for a positive steroids test, becoming the 12th player penalized for violating major league baseball's policy.

Lawton, acquired by the Yankees from the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 27 and then left off New York's post-season roster, became a free agent last Thursday. He will serve a 10-day suspension at the start of next season.

"I made a terrible and foolish mistake that I will regret for the rest of my life," Lawton said in a statement that he read over the telephone to The Associated Press. "I take full responsibility for my actions and did not appeal my suspension. I apologize to the fans, the game, my family and all those people that I let down. I am truly sorry and deeply regret my terrible lapse in judgment."

Lawton said the positive test occurred after he was acquired by the Yankees but did not answer other questions.

The substance he tested positive for was boldenone, a person familiar with the tests results said, speaking on condition of anonymity because drug-test results in baseball are supposed to remain secret.

"It's a veterinary steroid. I think it's primarily used in horses," Dr. Gary Wadler, a professor of sports medicine at New York University and an expert on performance-enhancing drugs. "It's used like any other anabolic steroid. It's basically injectable."

When baseball conducted anonymous survey testing in 2003, there were five positive tests for boldenone, baseball executive vice president Rob Manfred said earlier this year. Paralympic powerlifter Darrell Tyrone Banks was suspended for two years last November by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency following a positive test for boldenone.

Wadler said the steroid also was available under the name equipoise.

An All-Star with Minnesota in 2000 and Cleveland in 2004, Lawton hit a combined .254 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs this season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cubs and Yankees. He turns 35 this month.

EPSTEIN: DECISION WAS PERSONAL: Outgoing Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein dismissed reports that a power struggle with team president Larry Lucchino led him to walk away from the organization this week.

The 31-year-old Epstein, whose career in professional baseball started when Lucchino hired him as an intern with the Baltimore Orioles 14 years ago, reportedly rejected the team's offer of a $4.5 million, three-year extension that would have more than quadrupled his previous salary.

"Larry and I like each other," Epstein said Wednesday in his first public comments since he shocked Boston fans by walking away from the bargaining table on Monday. "As with any other working relationship there are complexities, there are ups and downs."

The decision to leave, he said, was a personal one.

"This is a job you have to give your whole heart and soul to," he said. "In the end, after a long period of reflection about myself and the program, I decided I could no longer put my whole heart and soul into it."

Principal owner John Henry noted Lucchino's absence from the news conference at Fenway Park.

"He's been maligned and blamed for the situation for the last couple of days. I think that's wrong. I think that's inaccurate," he said.

MADDUX WINS 15TH GOLD GLOVE: Chicago Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux won his 15th Gold Glove on Wednesday, one shy of the record shared by pitcher Jim Kaat and third baseman Brooks Robinson.

Maddux set a record for Gold Gloves won in the National League — Kaat won 14 in the AL and two in the NL. It was the second straight Gold Glove for Maddux and 15th in 16 seasons.

San Francisco shortstop Omar Vizquel won his 10th Gold Glove, his first in the NL after the nine straight he earned with the Cleveland Indians from 1993-2001.

Atlanta outfielder Andruw Jones won his eighth straight Gold Glove and St. Louis outfielder Jim Edmonds won his eighth, including the last six in a row.

Giants catcher Mike Matheny won his fourth overall and third straight.

A pair of Florida infielders also were on the Gold Glove team, with second baseman Luis Castillo winning his third straight and third baseman Mike Lowell winning for the first time.

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee won for the second time — he was on the 2003 NL Gold Glove team and was replaced by Colorado's Todd Helton last year. Philadelphia outfielder Bobby Abreu was a first-time winner.

PHILLIES INTRODUCE GM: Pat Gillick has turned losing teams into winners everywhere he's been. His job now is to build a champion from a team that hasn't been able to get over the top.

Gillick, whose resume includes two World Series titles and nine playoff appearances with three teams, signed a three-year contract Wednesday to become the Philadelphia Phillies' new general manager. He replaces Ed Wade, fired after failing to get the team into the playoffs in eight years on the job.

"We found the right person," Phillies president David Montgomery said. "He's an outstanding leader."

Gillick is joining an organization that has lost more games (8,831) than any U.S. major professional team and hasn't been to the playoffs since 1993 — when the Phillies lost the World Series to Gillick's Toronto Blue Jays.

REDS SALE: Carl Lindner agreed Wednesday to sell the controlling interest in the Cincinnati Reds to a group of area businessmen, keeping baseball's first professional franchise in local hands. The group is headed by Robert Castellini, chairman of a Cincinnati-based produce company, and relatives of a family that owned the team when it became the Big Red Machine in the 1970s. The sale must be approved by Major League Baseball.

ALSO: Pitcher Eddie Guardado's $6.25 million option for next year was exercised by the Seattle Mariners, who chose to keep him rather than explore an uncertain free-agent market . . . Former Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli rejoined the New York Yankees as Joe Torre's bench coach . . . Pitching coach Bud Black agreed to a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels, meaning all of Mike Scioscia's coaches are under contract for next season . . . Former World Series MVP John Wetteland was hired as the pitching coach for the Texas Rangers' Double-A affiliate . . . Reliever Mike Timlin and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract worth about $3.25 million.