Red Sox's Valentine says technology would help out umpires | Baseball notebook
A day after being ejected, Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was still steamed about umpiring, and said technology should be used to...
MIAMI — A day after being ejected, Boston 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 before his team began a series at Miami.
Valentine, upset with plate umpire Al Porter, launched a tirade with two outs in the ninth inning of Sunday's loss to Washington. The Red Sox dropped all three games 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 six 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. He said he doesn't fault umpires, because he believes it's impossible to see the final few feet of a pitch traveling 90 mph and sometimes breaking sharply.
"The umpires are very well trained, and I think they're very good at what they do," Valentine said. "I think it's almost impossible to do what they do. So why do we ask them to do the impossible?"
Valentine said he had yet to hear from Major League Baseball regarding his tirade.
"I probably will," he said. "They fine you and take your money and reprimand you, as though I did something wrong. It's a great system. I love it."
• Toronto lost starting pitcher Brandon Morrow just nine pitches into the first inning when the right-hander strained a muscle in his left side.
"I felt it on the first pitch to (Nationals rookie Bryce) Harper," the former Mariner said. "I felt like a stabbing in my side when I threw it."
Morrow continued to feel tightness in his lower rib cage after coming out of the game and will be re-evaluated Tuesday. Blue Jays manager John Farrell said the injury was "probably substantial."
• The Chicago Cubs reached an agreement with Cuban free-agent outfielder Jorge Soler. The 20-year-old Soler was sought after by several teams and is considered a five-tool player who will require some minor-league seasoning. The Cubs declined to comment. Numerous media reports said the deal was for nine years and worth $30 million.
• Carlos Zambrano, one of baseball's best-hitting pitchers, is now under orders to cool it in batting practice. Zambrano complained of a stiff back in his most recent start Saturday, and manager Ozzie Guillen said lusty swings can't help. "Now he's going to bunt, bunt and bunt," Guillen said. "We won't let him swing like he wants to swing."
• Boston Red Sox reliever Rich Hill's latest elbow problem has been diagnosed as a strained flexor muscle. He's expected to be sidelined for at least a month.