Anthony Santander
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Watch: Anthony Santander robs home run, turns double play

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We’ve seen the gamut of defensive gems over the years, from the smooth barehanded snag to the rare triple play to the incredible fence-scaling grab. On Saturday, Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander broke the mold with a sac fly double play that has to be seen to be believed:

Powered by a Renato Núñez home run in the top of the inning, the Orioles led 1-0 when the bottom of the sixth rolled around. The Astros didn’t make it easy for Andrew Cashner, who surrendered back-to-back singles to give the competition a more-than-fair shot of getting back on top. With one out and runners at the corners, Yuli Gurriel lifted an 0-1 slider out to right field, where it was caught at the wall by Santander and airmailed to first base.

Derek Fisher scored on the sac fly, but Trey Mancini‘s diving catch proved a lucky one for the Orioles, as his foot just managed to stay on the bag while Michael Brantley stepped off first. The unconventional double play brought the Astros’ rally to a swift end, allowing the Orioles to recapture the lead with a run-scoring groundout in the eighth and a two-run homer from Richie Martin in the ninth.

Thanks to Santander’s antics, the Orioles boosted their woeful record to 20-44 on the year, slowly but surely building toward fourth-place status in the AL East. They’ll attempt to take the series from the Astros on Sunday, when right-hander Dylan Bundy is scheduled to go up against lefty Wade Miley at 2:10 PM EDT.

Rob Manfred calls Astros sign-stealing investigation ‘most thorough’ MLB investigation ever

Associated Press
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SAN DIEGO — Commissioner Rob Manfred was asked today about the status of the investigation into the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Manfred said “I think that this is probably the most thorough investigation that the Commissioner’s office has ever undertaken.”

I would assume that construction excludes the Mitchell Report, which was undertaken by an outside party, but I guess it’s still quite a claim.

Manfred said that Major League Baseball has interviewed “nearly 60 witnesses” and has reviewed 76,000 e-mails plus a “trove of instant messages.” He said that they are not done, however, and that the review so far has, “caused us to conclude that we have to do some follow-up interviewing.” He said he cannot predict how long the investigation will take, but “it is my hope to conclude the investigation just as promptly as possible.”

Manfred was asked about the sort of discipline he and his office were contemplating but said, “at this point in the investigation it would be wholly inappropriate for me to speculate” about what discipline was in play.

The investigation comes in the wake of the November 12 report in The Athletic about the Astros’ sign-stealing operation, which allegedly involved use of center field video cameras and the relaying of pitch selection to batters. Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers confirmed the scheme to The Athletic and at least three other Astros employees confirmed it as well.

In the wake of that initial report, video and audio emerged which appeared to confirm the sign-stealing and emails from an Astros executive to scouts, asking them to use cameras and/or binoculars in an effort to steal signs have been uncovered. Major League Baseball has vowed serious punishment for Astros executives, coaches and employees who were involved in orchestrating the scheme and to any players or officials who are found to be untruthful with MLB officials in the course of the investigation.

Initially, Major League Baseball said its investigation would be a wide-ranging one, including multiple teams. Soon after that, however, Manfred controversially backtracked on that, saying instead that the probe would focus only on the Astros. Which, to be sure, is the club against whom current allegations have been lodged and whom many around the game suspect to be the worst offenders. As we have noted, however, it’s highly unreasonable to assume that the Astros are alone in perpetrating a sophisticated sign-stealing operation, as their scheme was allegedly imported by a player who learned it while playing elsewhere.

Either way, it sounds like MLB has a lot on its plate with this. When we know something, you’ll know something.