/Astros manager, GM suspended one year over sign stealing scandal

Astros manager, GM suspended one year over sign stealing scandal

FILE PHOTO: Dec 10, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch speaks to the media during the MLB Winter Meetings at Manchester Grand Hyatt. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sport/File Photo

(Reuters) – Major League Baseball on Monday suspended the manager and general manager of the Houston Astros for one year after an investigation found the team cheated by stealing signs during their World Series-winning 2017 season.

MLB, in a statement, also said the Astros will pay a $5 million fine to Commissioner Rob Manfred’s office and forfeit their first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.

Astros Manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow are suspended without pay through the completion of the 2020 World Series, and are prohibited from performing any services on behalf of the Astros during that period.

Manfred said in his ruling that if either Hinch or Luhnow engage in any future material violations of MLB rules they will be placed on the permanently ineligible list.

“The conduct described herein has caused fans, players, executives at other MLB clubs, and members of the media to raise questions about the integrity of games in which the Astros participated,” Manfred said in his written decision.

“And while it is impossible to determine whether the conduct actually impacted the results on the field, the perception of some that it did causes significant harm to the game.”

The Astros could not immediately be reached for comment. Team owner Jim Crane is holding a news conference at 3:00 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) at the team’s stadium.

Under Luhnow’s tenure, the Astros went from a team that lost more than 100 games each season from 2011-2103 to one of the game’s powerhouse club’s with more than 100 wins every year from 2017-2019, including a World Series title in 2017 and another trip to the World Series in 2019 in which they lost to the upstart Washington Nationals.

Hinch has managed the Astros since the 2015 season.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Berkrot

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