Jim Joyce should never call another Armando Galarraga game

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There is no denying that Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga will forever be linked in baseball history.

But did they really need to have a book out already?

Yes, that’s right. The pitcher who nearly threw a perfect game last season, and the umpire who blew the call that would have clinched it, have co-authored a book titled “Nobody’s Perfect: Two Men, one Call, and a Game for Baseball History.” The book will be released on May 16 and can be pre-ordered now.

Because the two are now business partners, Ed Price of AOL doesn’t think Joyce should ever call a game behind the plate in which Galarraga – now with the Arizona Diamondbacks – might take the mound.

Nonetheless, baseball must consider the appearance of impropriety. The first time Galarraga got a favorable call from Joyce, right or not, the other team could point to the book deal. Major League Baseball needs to make sure that doesn’t become an issue.

This is no different than if an active player and active umpire decided to start a sports bar together, or opened a car dealership. They both profit from the same business.

There is no questioning the ethics of Joyce and Galarraga. Both men proved their character – and then some – last year. But Price is correct on this. It’s about appearances, and you can’t have an umpire calling games in which the pitcher on the mound is his business partner. As Price points out, MLB has already dealt with a similar situation, as umpire Jim Wolf is not allowed to work behind the plate when brother Randy Wolf is pitching. The same rule should now be applied to Joyce and Galarraga. And if the D-backs put Galarraga in the bullpen, then Joyce should not be allowed behind the plate in any Arizona games.

The commissioner’s office is reportedly looking into the issue, which probably means Bud Selig will send up a weather balloon soliciting opinions on the matter in a couple weeks. We shall see, but it’s pretty clear what needs to be done.

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Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).