NEW YORK &

Baseball owners and players were close to finalizing an agreement on instant replay, and an announcement on the start of the innovation likely will be announced next week.




Management and the umpires' union signed an agreement Wednesday, leaving a deal with players as the next step. That process was just about wrapped up.




"We're getting that done," Jimmie Lee Solomon, Major League Baseball's executive vice president for baseball operations, said Saturday at the Beijing Olympics. "We've been working with the players and umpires, and they've all been very amenable."




In addition, equipment must be installed in about five more ballparks before baseball can start using replays.




"We don't have a date yet. We're still installing equipment, and testing and doing some other procedural issues," Solomon said. "I don't want to venture a guess (when). When you're talking about technology, sometimes it can go easily and sometimes it's very difficult. We want to make sure we get it right. We don't want to announce it until we're sure we can move it out on that date."




Umpires will be allowed to check video to determine boundary calls on home runs &

whether balls cleared fences or went by the foul pole in fair territory.




Players and managers have been almost uniform in their support of replay, saying everything should be done to ensure that correct calls are made. Commissioner Bud Selig, a replay opponent in the past, has softened his stance this year following several blown calls.




"The goal is always to get the call right," said Solomon, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the United States played Japan in the bronze medal game. "In limited use, this can be an asset to the sport. Many people wonder if this will cause a delay and slow the game down. We think it will speed the game up. It's very efficient with the technology we have today. You've seen at home watching on television, the viewers have seen it by the time the guys start their argument."




Video from all ballparks will be fed to the office of Major League Baseball Advanced Media in New York, and supervisors will work with technicians to provide feeds for umpires at ballparks. The crew chief will determine whether replays should be checked, and all but one umpire at each game will be allowed to leave the field to watch the video. The crew chief will decide calls.




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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in Beijing contributed to this report.