Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman apologize for sign-stealing scandal

Feb. 13 (UPI) — Houston Astros star players Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman offered public apologies for their roles in the team’s illegal sign-stealing scheme used in 2017 and 2018.

Players and team officials were made available at a press conference Thursday as the Astros began spring training in West Palm Beach, Fla. The apologies from Bregman and Altuve were a change from their comments at the Astros’ fan fest last month, when neither player showed guilt for the team’s sign-stealing operation.

“I am really sorry about the choices that were made by my team, by the organization and by me,” Bregman said Thursday. “I have learned from this and I hope to regain the trust of baseball fans.”

Altuve said the Astros had a “great team meeting” on Wednesday night, saying the “whole Astros organization feels bad for what happened in 2017.”

“[We] especially feel remorse for the impact on the fans and the game of baseball,” Altuve said. “And our team is determined to move forward.”

New Astros manager Dusty Baker, who was hired at the end of January, said he hopes MLB fans and other players from around the league will forgive the players and coaches that were involved with the sign-stealing scheme.

“I ask the baseball world to forgive them for the mistakes that they made,” he said.

Astros owner Jim Crane also offered another apology and vowed “that this will never again happen on my watch.” He pointed out that he went beyond the league’s decision to suspend former Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow by firing them.

Crane said he agreed with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred‘s decision not to discipline players for the operation. He called the team “a great group of guys” who didn’t receive proper guidance from Hinch and Luhnow.

When asked whether Houston should keep its World Series championship from 2017 after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers, Crane said that Major League Baseball made it clear the Astros weren’t being stripped of the title and agreed with the league’s decision.

“Our opinion is that this didn’t impact the game,” Crane said. “We had a good team. We won the World Series and we’ll leave it at that. … [We] cannot change the actions of the past but [are] fully committed in moving forward in the right way.”

Major League Baseball announced last month that a league investigation confirmed the Astros cheated during the regular season and postseason of their World Series-winning 2017 campaign.

According to Manfred, the Astros used a camera-based system to steal signs of opposing teams during the 2017 season and parts of the 2018 campaign.

The sign-stealing scandal led to the suspension and subsequent firing of Hinch and Luhnow. The Astros organization was also fined a record $5 million and had multiple draft picks taken away.

The league’s investigation also impacted other MLB franchises. Former Astros bench coach Alex Cora lost his job as manager of the Boston Red Sox on Jan. 14, and ex-Astros player Carlos Beltran was removed from his managerial position with the New York Mets two days later.

Cora and Beltran were singled out in the league’s investigation as the ringleaders of the sign-stealing scheme in 2017.