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Valentine blasts the 'human factor'

MIAMI — A day after being ejected, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was still steamed about umpiring and said technology should be used to eliminate human error in calling balls and strikes.

"I want a ball called a ball and a strike called a strike. Figure out how to do it," Valentine said Monday

Valentine, upset with plate ump Al Porter, launched a tirade with two outs in the ninth inning of Sunday's loss to Washington. The Red Sox were swept in the series, and Valentine said his frustration about the way pitches were called built through the weekend.

But he said he has long been in favor of using technology to get such calls right. Covering the Little League World Series as a network announcer convinced Valentine change was needed.

"It was the most criminal thing I ever saw," he said. "I wanted to cry when a kid, in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and his team down by one run, was called out on a strike three on a pitch that was 6 inches outside. He couldn't reach it with his bat. I cried for him. That kid is scarred for life playing our game by an injustice.

"And then someone says the most ridiculous words that I ever hear — 'But we like the human factor.' It's criminal that we allow our game to scar a young person like that. And then it continues. I think in 2012 it should not be part of the process."

Valentine declined to propose a specific solution but said the technology exists to improve the accuracy of calling pitches.

In other Red Sox news, LH reliever Rich Hill's latest elbow problem was diagnosed as a strained flexor muscle, and he's expected to be sidelined for at least a month.

CUBAN STAR TO CUBS: The Cubs reached an agreement with Cuban free agent OF Jorge Soler, reportedly for nine years and $30 million. Soler, 20, was sought after by several teams and is considered a five-tool player who will require some minor-league seasoning.

In other Cubs news, C Geovany Soto began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa three weeks after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

UTLEY REHAB: Phillies 2B Chase Utley, who has been out all season with a degenerative knee condition, is set to begin his minor-league rehab tonight with Class A Clearwater. The Threshers are home against Tampa in the 7 p.m. game.

CLEMENS SAGA: The final set of witnesses took the stand as the Roger Clemens perjury trial entered its ninth week, and both sides played it safe with major decisions. Clemens did not take the stand, and prosecutors decided not to try to introduce new evidence to bolster the credibility of their key witness, former trainer Brian McNamee.

HIRING NEWS: Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, the director of sports medicine and head team physician at the University of Connecticut since 1994, was appointed a new independent administrator for the sport's drug prevention and treatment program.

SUSPENSION OVERTURNED: Brewers minor-league SS Erick Almonte had a 50-game drug suspension rescinded by Major League Baseball after a B sample came back negative.

BLUE JAYS: RHP Brandon Morrow left after nine pitches because of a strained muscle in his left side. He's considered day to day. … RHP Sergio Santos, the team's opening day closer, felt soreness in his injured pitching shoulder and had a bullpen session canceled. Santos has been on the DL since April 21.

BRAVES: RH reliever Cory Gearrin was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to replace RHP Julio Teheran, who was with the team for one fill-in start.

MARLINS: RHP Carlos Zambrano, one of baseball's best-hitting pitchers, is under orders to cool it in batting practice because of a stiff back.

Valentine blasts the 'human factor' 06/11/12 [Last modified: Monday, June 11, 2012 9:45pm]
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