BOSTON _ Responding to a surprising $700 million late bid from Charles Dolan, the Boston Red Sox held telephone discussions Friday with the team's limited partners.Dolan, the chairman of Cablevision Systems Corp., made the new bid Thursday, three weeks after the Red Sox agreed to a $660 million offer from a group headed by Florida Marlins owner John Henry."We had a healthy discussion with the limited partners this afternoon which will continue over the weekend," said Daniel Goldberg, a lawyer for the Red Sox. "We will have further comment when it is appropriate."State Attorney General Thomas Reilly met with major league baseball's lead lawyer as part of his investigation into whether the office of commissioner Bud Selig improperly guided the team into agreeing to the offer from Henry's group on Dec. 20.The Red Sox are not bound by their agreement with Henry, a source close to the team said, speaking on the condition of anonymity."Our latest offer gives us another opportunity to own a wonderful franchise in a great city and we hope that the trust accepts it," Dolan spokeswoman Nancy Sterling said, adding the the team had made it clear that bids would be considered up until the sale in finalized."The documents if you see them are very specific in that area in that it basically says the Red Sox can deny bids, the Red Sox can accept bids and then change their minds," she said.Reilly, who has an appointment to speak with Selig on Saturday, is investigating whether charities that would benefit from the sale were shortchanged when the team accepted Henry's offer instead of a $750 million bid from a group headed by New York lawyer Miles Prentice. The Red Sox claimed the Prentice offer did not have secure financing.Baseball owners have been notified there could be a vote next week on a conditional approval to the sale to Henry's group, a high-ranking official of another team said, also on the condition of anonymity.Dolan's bid upended the sale just as it appeared to be winding down, more than a year after the process began. Henry was attending the annual dinner of the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of American when Dolan's new offer became public.Henry said he wasn't worried, but left the dinner early to meet with advisers in his hotel suite.Red Sox chief executive officer John Harrington has not commented on the Dolan bid. Harrington runs the Jean R. Yawkey Trust, which owns a 53 percent controlling share of the Red Sox."By contrast with the previous (Prentice) one, I think there is a much stronger obligation on John Harrington to take account of this new offer, assuming it's a totally financially viable offer," said Paul Weiler, an expert on sports law at Harvard Law School.Weiler said the Red Sox would only be committed to Henry's bid if they had signed a binding contract. Otherwise, the Yawkey Trust is obliged to seek the best deal it can for the charities that will benefit from the sale.Two sources _ one close to the negotiations and another close to one of the bidding groups, both speaking on condition of anonymity _ also said Friday that Red Sox lawyers led bidders to believe that offers would be considered until the sale is complete.Sterling said the latest offer would provide more for the Yakwey Trust charities than the other bids.There was no comment Friday from Henry's group.Reilly, emerging Friday from a meeting with Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief legal counsel, said, "It's very clear from this process there were no rules, the rules were changed hour by hour, bidder by bidder."DuPuy described the discussion as "cordial" and said there was "nothing troubling" about the sale. He also denied Reilly's allegation that baseball owners directed the team to accept Henry's bid, saying Harrington was free to ask for owners' approval of any purchaser he chose.DuPuy said baseball owners have scheduled "discussion and possible action" on the sale when they meet next week.