Plans are still in place for the A's to open the 2008 season in Japan against the Boston Red Sox.

But whether the World Series champions are on board with the idea remains to be seen.

Major League Baseball president Bob DuPuy confirmed to reporters at the World Series that Oakland and Boston were the teams being considered to christen the season with a two-game series at the Tokyo Dome, to be played March 24 and 25. But DuPuy added there are still logistics to be worked out.

A's players gave their approval to the players' union in September that they were willing to make the trip, but the Red Sox have not been as quick to give the thumbs up.

"I know there's nothing definite," Red Sox spokesperson John Blake said. "I know we're talking to Major League Baseball on a variety of fronts. Whether it's going to come together, I don't know."

Red Sox players already are looking at a shorter offseason than normal, having just clinched the World Series on Sunday. The thought of reporting early to spring camp to prepare for the Japan series may not sound appealing. How much players will be compensated for making the trip also could be a sticking point.

"We have the owners' meetings coming up (Nov. 14-15)," said Dominick Balsamo, a spokesperson for MLB International. "I think the t's will be crossed and the i's will be dotted by that time."

A's assistant general manager David Forst said playing in Japan would only require the team to bump up its reporting date for pitchers by a few days.


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It's likely the A's would leave Phoenix for Tokyo around March 19 and play two exhibitions against Japanese teams on March 22 and 23 before the two-game series with Boston. The A's then would return and play their annual Bay Bridge exhibition series against the Giants before resuming regular-season play.

In other A's news, outfielders Shannon Stewart and Jeff DaVanon and designated hitter Mike Piazza filed for free agency this week. Stewart is considered the only one of the three who may return to Oakland.

The A's have had dialogue with Stewart's agent, Greg Genske, and though they hold exclusive negotiating rights with the outfielder until Nov. 13, Stewart is sure to test the open market after a strong 2007 season.

"I hope things work out with Oakland, but you never know," Stewart said. "That's why I've got to see what's out there."

Contact Joe Stiglich at jstiglic@bayareanewsgroup.com.