CHICAGO – Theo Epstein resigned Friday night as general manager of the Boston Red Sox to join the Chicago Cubs as president of baseball operations.

Epstein, 37, resigned with a year remaining on his contract to run a team that has gone 103 years without a World Series championship.

With Epstein, the Red Sox ended an 86-year World Series championship drought in 2004 and won again in 2007.

The teams negotiated for more than a week over compensation the Red Sox would receive for letting Epstein out of his contract. In the end, they decided to put off that issue, saying it would be resolved in the near term.

The Red Sox are expected to announce assistant GM Ben Cherington as Epstein’s replacement. Boston, which collapsed in September and missed the playoffs for a second straight year, also must find a manager to replace Terry Francona.

One of the first chores in Chicago is the future of Manager Mike Quade, who led the team to a 71-91 record in his first full season. He has a year left on his deal.

Reports say the Cubs also are interested in hiring San Diego Padres General Manager Jed Hoyer for that position, where he would be reunited with Epstein. They worked together in Boston.

Epstein reportedly will get a five-year deal worth about $18.5 million to overhaul the baseball side of the front office.

In a joint statement, the teams said they would hold news conferences Tuesday with the Cubs introducing Epstein and with the Red Sox announcing his successor – likely Cherington.

Major League Baseball generally prohibits announcements during the World Series, but Friday was a day off between Games 2 and 3 between the Cardinals and Rangers.

The Cubs and Red Sox said they would not comment until Tuesday, another travel day for the World Series if it goes beyond five games.

• Pitching coach Curt Young left Boston to return to Oakland and join new manager Bob Melvin.
Young signed a one-year deal to rejoin the club that drafted him in 1981.

STROLLING BEHIND the batting cage, Matt Holliday watched his St. Louis teammates hit away Friday and offered a simple tip.

“Get a good swing!” he hollered.

Great advice for anyone with a bat in hand at this World Series.

Despite the presence of Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Nelson Cruz and other top boppers, the Cardinals and Texas Rangers have hardly dented the scoreboard while splitting the first two games.

So far, the teams have combined for eight runs. The last time there were fewer runs through the opening two games at a Series? Try 1950, when Joe DiMaggio and the New York Yankees combined with Philadelphia for four.

Blame the drought on a few factors: raw weather at Busch Stadium, good pitching, and perhaps most significantly, hitters facing pitchers they’ve never seen.

Both teams have flailed away, chasing sliders and curves that bounced, shattering bats and seeming to guess wrong on what pitches were coming next.

“We need to give good at-bats and get deeper, and quit swinging at balls out of the strike zone,” Mike Napoli of the Rangers said.

Napoli has hit the lone home run of the Series. He connected off Chris Carpenter, but maybe he had an edge – Napoli had been 3 for 3 lifetime against Carpenter.

Fresh off their two-run rally in the ninth inning and a 2-1 win in Game 2, the Rangers start Matt Harrison tonight at home. Kyle Lohse will pitch for the Cardinals.

“It’s a tough place to pitch, especially when you see those flags blowing in. It usually means that jetstream is going to right-center,” Lohse said. “I think everyone in the league knows that.”

Each team adds a designated hitter, with the AL rules in effect at Texas. Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa will make Lance Berkman the DH and put Allen Craig, who already has a pair of key pinch-hit RBI singles, in right field.

The Rangers likely will use Michael Young at DH, move Napoli to first base and put Yorvit Torrealba at catcher.

At this point it might take more than a wind tunnel to help the hitters.

Texas is batting only .186, and St. Louis is stuck at .203. Hamilton and Pujols are hitless.

ROYALS: Second baseman Johnny Giavotella had arthroscopic surgery to correct a cartilage tear in his right hip.

BRAVES: Atlanta hired Greg Walker as its hitting coach, ending a 3-week process to replace Larry Parrish.

METS: Right-hander Ryota Igarashi, 32, was given his unconditional release.