As the Houston Astros gather at their spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday to offer a collective mea culpa for electronically stealing signs during their 2017 championship season, their former manager also stayed in the damage control lane.
A.J. Hinch expressed remorse, yet caused more questions than answers when his interview with Tom Verducci aired on MLB Network on Friday. Verducci asked Hinch point-blank whether Astros players wore “buzzers” under their jerseys to signal which pitch was coming during the ALCS against the Yankees.
“We got investigated for three months,” Hinch said. “The commissioner’s office did as thorough an investigation as anyone could imagine was possible. I know you mentioned the e-mails and the texts and the messages. And I believe it. And I believe in the findings.”
Understandably, the lack of assurance in the answer raised some eyebrows throughout the sport. The “buzzer” accusations have been entertained by MLB players, including the outspoken Trevor Bauer, on social media.
Late Wednesday, Hinch offered a statement to Verducci to clarify his remarks.
“After my interview with Tom Verducci last week, there has been a significant reaction to my answer to the ‘buzzer’ question,” Hinch said in the statement. “To be clear, I have never seen any such device used in baseball. I am not aware of any such device existing or being utilized with the Astros, the players, or any other team.
“I was first asked about such devices during the investigation by MLB. In my interview with Tom, I acknowledged the commissioner’s report as evidence due to the in-depth nature of the investigation, not as an intended non-answer or a way to elude the question.”
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