As MLB investigates possible illegal sign stealing, commissioner Rob Manfred says the league is zeroed in on the Astros and not other clubs.
“Right now we are focused on the information that we have with respect to the Astros,” Manfred told reporters Tuesday after touring the Rangers’ new stadium in Arlington, Texas, the site of this week’s owners’ meetings. “I’m not going to speculate on whether other people are going to be involved. We’ll deal with that if it happens. I have no reason to believe that it extends beyond the Astros at this point in time.”
After the Red Sox were fined two years ago for using Apple Watches in the dugout, Manfred said in a memo, “Future violations of this type will be subject to more serious sanctions, including the possible loss of draft picks.”
Manfred indicated he has the ability to be even harsher if he feels severe punishment is warranted.
“I’m not going to speculate on what the appropriate discipline is. That depends on how the facts are established at the end of the investigation,” Manfred said. “The general warning that I issued to the clubs, I stand by. It certainly could be all those things. But my authority under the major league constitution would be broader than those things, as well.”
Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers and other sources told The Athletic that Houston electronically stole signs during the 2017 season.
“Any allegation that relates to a rule violation that could affect the outcome of a game or games is the most serious matter — it relates to the integrity of the sport,” Manfred said. “People want the game played consistent with our rules and feel it’s important that we figure out exactly what happened here and take steps to make sure that it doesn’t happen in the future by imposing appropriate discipline.”
— With AP