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Alex Cora: Astros’ cheating ‘was not a two-man show’

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Back in January — which, due to the scale of events that have happened since, feels like five years ago — Major League Baseball completed its investigation into the Astros’ cheating scheme in 2017. The league suspended GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch each for one year (both were subsequently fired by the Astros), fined the team $5 million, and rescinded the club’s first- and second-round draft picks in both 2020 and ’21.

Alex Cora was the bench coach for the Astros in 2017. Partially as a result of the Astros winning a championship that year, Cora landed a managerial job with the Red Sox in 2018, winning another championship. Those Red Sox, too, were the subject of a separate Major League Baseball investigation into cheating.

Cora and DH/OF Carlos Beltrán, who was named Mets manager in November and fired in January, were cast as the ringleaders of the Astros’ cheating scheme. Cora spoke to ESPN’s Marly Rivera, making his first public comments since the investigation. Cora insists that, despite the framing of the scandal, the Astros’ cheating “was not a two-man show.” He added, “We all did it. And let me be very clear that I am not denying my responsibility, because we were all responsible.” Cora specifically named Luhnow as someone “singling me out … as if I were the sole mastermind.”

Some members of the 2017 Astros, and even owner Jim Crane, went out of their way to deny any knowledge or involvement. Some players said that they felt pressured into complicity. Crane even said that MLB’s investigation “explicitly exonerated” him.

Cora said, “We made a mistake and I must pay for the consequences of my actions.” At least someone involved with the cheating is accepting a modicum of accountability.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”