MLB’s investigation into alleged illegal sign-stealing by the Astros will expand to include the team’s conduct during the 2018 and 2019 seasons, commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday.
Acccording to The Associated Press, MLB is “talking to people all over the industry, former employees, competitors, whatever” as part of the expanded probe, which will also look into the team’s firing of assistant general manager Brandon Taubman after he reportedly harrassed a female Sports Illustrated journalist.
“To the extent that we find other leads (about sign-stealing), we’re going to follow these leads,” Manfred said at the conclusion of the annual owner’s meetings, held this year in Arlington, Texas.
The Astros have come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks because of allegations they’ve long had a system in place to illegally steal signs from opponents.
Former Houston pitcher Mike Fiers told The Athletic in a story published last week that the Astros trained a center-field camera on the opponent’s catcher in 2017 and fed the video to a television monitor mounted on a wall in the runway behind the home dugout at Minute Maid Park. Signs could then be relayed to hitters before the pitch.
The Athletic later reported that a member of the Astros’ front office e-mailed team scouts before the 2017 MLB postseason and asked them to try to steal opponents’ signs, and to use cameras if necessary. MLB rules state that teams cannot use technology in any way to communicate with players on the field.
Manfred said Thursday that the investigation “is going to encompass not only what we know about ’17, but also ‘18 and ’19,” The AP reported.
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