Associated Press

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

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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.

A’s minor league manager on ventilator due to coronavirus

Oakland Athletics
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OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics minor league manager Webster Garrison is hospitalized in Louisiana and on a ventilator with the coronavirus, according to his fiance.

Nikki Trudeaux posted her latest update Monday night on social media. She said the 54-year-old former major leaguer still required a ventilator to fight COVID-19 but hadn’t declined in his battle.

“He is not getting worse! He is fighting hard and making small milestones,”

. Trudeaux has been asking for nightly prayers with the hash tag “WebbyStrong.”

The A’s said Tuesday there were no updates on a minor league staffer – they have not identified him – and said there have not been other positive tests within the organization.

Oakland released a a statement during the weekend that “a minor league staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 and is under hospital care.”

“We want to extend our sincerest thoughts and prayers to our colleague for a speedy recovery,” the team said. “We are committed to providing him and his family with support and care. Every person on our team plays a critical role to our success and we look forward to his return to the field when he is healthy.”

Garrison managed the Class A Stockton Ports last season and was expected to manage in the Arizona Fall League this year. He played five games for the A’s in 1996, never getting a hit in 10 plate appearances while drawing one walk. He is from Marrero, Louisiana.

Trudeaux described in her posts the heartbreak of being helpless through this.

“This man, my fiancé, Webster Garrison, the love of my life, is on a ventilator in the hospital, fighting for his life, and I can’t even be at his side!” Trudeaux said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems can experience severe illness, including pneumonia and death.