If only A.J. Hinch knew that this firestorm would come.
The contested former Astros manager tried to push his non-denial of rumors his team was using, in addition to his documented illegal sign-theft scheme using a video monitor with electronic buzzers under his uniforms, to the Batters' pitches to draw attention to the way.
“After my interview with Tom Verducci [of MLB Network] Last week there was a significant response to my answer to the summer question. Hinch said in a statement to Sports Illustrated. “To be clear, I've never seen such a device in baseball. I am not aware that such a device exists or is used with the Astros, the players or another team. "
There was rumble Houston star Jose Altuve may have been wearing a buzzer as he completed his series-winning walk-off home run against the Yankees in 2019 at ALCS because he warned his teammates not to tear off his jersey during the ceremony. Altuve later said his wife did not want his jersey to be torn off, and he has denied claims about any buzzer ever since.
MLB could not claim the team had used portable devices to steal opponents' shields as part of its lengthy investigation of the Astro, but Hinch's vague response last week triggered the scuttlebutt again, prompting Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, joking on Wednesday that the Yankees could rip out "anything" if he hit such a crucial home run.
"We have been under investigation for three months," Hinch told MLB Network last week, saying that the Astros were "wrong" with fraud. “The Commissioner's office has carried out as thorough an investigation as anyone can imagine. I know you mentioned the emails, the texts and the news. And I believe it. And I believe in the results. "
The Astros were found to have electronically stolen signs in 2017 when they also defeated the Yankees in the ALCS and parts of 2018, but the league couldn't conclude whether Houston cheated in 2019 as well.
Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were suspended from MLB for their role in the fraud scandal, and both were subsequently fired from the Astros.