ORLANDO — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington disputed a report by ESPN Boston that shortstop Stephen Drew will not return to the Red Sox.
“That’s not something I’ve been told,” Cherington said as he left the GM and owners meetings at the J.W. Marriott Grande Lakes. “We’re still talking with him and we’d like to have him back. We’ll see what happens.”
On Wednesday, agent Scott Boras said that Drew “very much enjoyed” his time in Boston and would consider opportunities to stay. He, too, said no decision had been made.
Drew is seeking a multiyear contract, something the Red Sox would prefer to avoid. But because Drew was tendered a qualifying offer by Boston, signing him could cost another team its first-round draft pick. That could dampen the market for Drew and perhaps lead to a return to Boston.
• The Red Sox have not given up on Jacoby Ellsbury but aren’t hopeful. “Long shot,” a team official said today after the owners meetings broke up.
• The Red Sox had 31 players who were on minor league contracts become free agents. The group includes righthander Alfredo Aceves, who was 16-13 with 27 saves and a 3.94 earned run average over two seasons with the Sox. The Sox have no plans to retain Aceves.
Righthander Terry Doyle, a former Boston College pitcher, and lefthander Jack McGeary, a Newton native who attended Stanford, also became free agents. McGeary appeared in 14 minor league games last season after being taken in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
Infielder Ryan Dent, a supplemental first-round draft pick in 2007, hit .226 over parts of seven seasons and is now looking for a chance. Other new free agents include veteran organizational players Ronald Bermudez, Brock Huntzinger, and Will Latimer.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.