For­mer JetHawks Al­tuve, Breg­man apol­o­gize for scan­dal

Antelope Valley Press - - AV OUTDOORS - By HOWARD FENDRICH

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Avoid­ing any specifics about their team’s sign-steal­ing dur­ing its 2017 World Series cham­pi­onship sea­son, Hous­ton Astros play­ers Alex Breg­man and José Al­tuve apol­o­gized Thurs­day for the scheme that was in­ves­ti­gated and pun­ished by Ma­jor League Base­ball.

Astros owner Jim Crane and new man­ager Dusty Baker — who re­placed the fired AJ Hinch — also spoke at a news con­fer­ence at the team’s spring training fa­cil­ity.

And while the clear pur­pose was to say, “We’re sorry” and hope to move on, Crane raised eye­brows with this state­ment: “Our opinion is that this didn’t im­pact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series. And we’ll leave it at that.”

Asked mo­ments later about his state­ment about the ef­fects on the game, Crane tried to back­track, say­ing, “It’s hard to de­ter­mine how it im­pacted the game, if it im­pacted the game.”

MLB did not pun­ish any play­ers for the cheat­ing and Crane said he stood by that.

“We’re not going to do any­thing to the play­ers,” the owner said.

Al­tuve said there was a full team meet­ing Wednesday to dis­cuss what hap­pened.

MLB Com­mis­sioner Rob Man­fred dis­ci­plined the Astros af­ter he found the team broke rules by us­ing elec­tron­ics to steal signs dur­ing its run to the 2017 World Series cham­pi­onship and again in the 2018 sea­son.

The Astros were fined $5 mil­lion, the max­i­mum al­lowed un­der ma­jor league rules, and forfeited their next two first- and sec­ond-round am­a­teur draft picks.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion found the Astros used the video feed from a cen­ter field cam­era to view and de­code op­pos­ing catch­ers’ signs. Play­ers banged on a trash can to sig­nal to bat­ters what was com­ing, be­liev­ing it would im­prove chances of get­ting a hit.

Crane said the scheme was used in 2017 and part of 2018, but ended dur­ing that sea­son.

He said there was noth­ing to the no­tion that Astros hit­ters used buzzers to get in­for­ma­tion about pitches.

“I truly be­lieve there was no buzzers, ever,” he said.

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