BOSTON -- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Wednesday night that it is unlikely the team will add a starting pitcher in the near future despite a source saying earlier in the day that Boston "had a great chance" to sign free agent Roy Oswalt.
"I wouldn't rule out adding a starter, but it's unlikely at this point,'' Cherington said Wednesday before a "town hall" meeting at Worcester Technical High School that was taped for airing Thursday on NESN.
Earlier Wednesday, a major league source said Oswalt still has not decided where he will pitch next season and that the Red Sox "had a great chance" of signing him. The same source had indicated late Friday night that Oswalt would be signing with the St. Louis Cardinals "soon."
Cherington said Wednesday he has had no meetings with Oswalt, in contrast to the Texas Rangers, who met with him on Monday.
A Red Sox source confirmed Wednesday that the team had not abandoned hopes of signing Oswalt, indicating that the 34-year-old right-hander may have a better chance at a regular turn starting with Boston than with the other two clubs, both of whom appear to have filled their rotations.
The Cardinals and Rangers, however, have the advantage of being closer to Oswalt's Mississippi home, the Red Sox source said. Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber, had been quoted Saturday as saying that Oswalt would not take a bullpen job.
"I'm not sure anybody but (Oswalt), his family and his agent know what he's going to do,'' the Red Sox source said.
Also Wednesday, a baseball source said that the Red Sox have made an offer but are "most likely out of the picture" for Edwin Jackson, the top starting pitcher remaining on the free-agent market, because there are better deals on the table from other clubs.
Boston's offer to Jackson was for one year and between $5 million and $6 million, according to the Boston Globe. Jackson has said from the get-go that he was seeking a multiyear deal.
The 28-year-old Jackson, a Scott Boras client, was 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA last season, which was split between the Chicago White Sox and Cardinals.
The Red Sox go into camp with three certainties in their rotation: Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz. They plan to bring relievers Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves to camp with the intention of them becoming starters, and Cherington has signed three experienced starters with injury histories -- Vicente Padilla, Carlos Silva and Aaron Cook -- to minor league deals with an invitation to big league camp.
Manager Bobby Valentine told reporters last week that another starting pitcher was not "at the top of my wish list," and the Red Sox might elect to stay put for the time being to see what other options develop between now and the regular-season opener.
Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.