Change comes slowly, if/when it comes

BOSTON -- When Theo Epstein spoke of how trades this early in the season were essentially a once-in-a-decade event, he was not exaggerating.

Since becoming general manager in the winter of 2002, Epstein has made three trades from the start of the season to the beginning of July.

The first was maybe the most significant, the May 29, 2003 deal that sent infielder Shea Hillenbrand to the Arizona Diamondbacks for reliever Byung-Hyun Kim, which had the effect of opening regular playing time for David Ortiz.

The second was memorable for the police escort given catcher Doug Mirabelli when he was acquired from the San Diego Padres on May 1, 2006 in a trade for reliever Cla Meredith and catcher Josh Bard.

And on June 21, 2006, Epstein made a deal with Cleveland for pitcher Jason Johnson, who was a short-timer.