Astros in hot water with MLB

The Morning Call - - SPORTS -

HOUS­TON — Amid crit­i­cism from Ma­jor League Base­ball, the Hous­ton Astros on Thurs­day de­fended the team’s de­ci­sion to deny a news­pa­per re­porter access to the club­house un­til af­ter ace pitcher Justin Ver­lan­der fin­ished his postgame ses­sion with the me­dia.

MLB said Wed­nes­day night’s in­ci­dent vi­o­lated its me­dia guide­lines and the Detroit Free Press said bar­ring its re­porter, An­thony Fenech, was “in­tol­er­a­ble.”

Ver­lan­der, who played 13 sea­sons for the Tigers, had just pitched a twohit­ter in a 2-1 loss to his for­mer team. The Astros opened their club­house at 9:35 p.m. As the rest of the me­dia was al­lowed to en­ter, Fenech, who has a cre­den­tial is­sued by the Base­ball Writ­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica, was stopped by three Astros se­cu­rity of­fi­cials.

Fenech con­tacted MLB VP of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Mike Tee­van and was al­lowed in at 9:41 p.m., af­ter Ver­lan­der had con­cluded his me­dia ses­sion. Fenech ap­proached Ver­lan­der, who said: “I’m not an­swer­ing your ques­tions.”

Ver­lan­der ad­dressed the sit­u­a­tion on Twit­ter, ac­cus­ing Fenech of un­spec­i­fied “un­eth­i­cal behavior in the past.”

The Astros said Fenech was “de­layed tem­po­rar­ily.”

MLB’s Tee­van said “the re­porter should have been al­lowed to en­ter the club­house postgame at the same time as the other mem­bers of the me­dia.

“We have com­mu­ni­cated this to the Astros,” he said.

BWAA Pres­i­dent Rob Biertempfe­l­said the or­ga­ni­za­tion was “alarmed” by the in­ci­dent.

DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP

Astros ace Justin Ver­lan­der de­liv­ers against the Tigers, his for­mer team, on Wed­nes­day.

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