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Ex-Dodgers SP Alex Wood Says He Heard Rumors of Astros Sign Stealing in 2017

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 28:  Alex Wood #57 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch during the first inning against the Houston Astros in game four of the 2017 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood revealed the team was aware of the Houston Astros potentially employing tactics to steal signs during the 2017 season prior to the teams meeting in the World Series.

"We'd heard whispers of some of the shady stuff they'd been doing," Wood recently told The Athletic's Andy McCullough. "Obviously, we had no idea it was to the extent that came out, in terms of setting up cameras in the tunnel and banging on trash cans. That's pretty wild."

Wood made two appearances, including one start, against the Astros in the 2017 Fall Classic. He allowed just one hit—a solo home run—in 5.2 innings of work in a 6-2 Game 4 victory at Minute Maid Park.

The left-hander later tossed two hitless innings in relief in Game 7, with the Astros pulling out a 5-1 victory to clinch the series.

Teams had accused Houston of stealing signs in the past, but it wasn't until The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich released a detailed report—including information from ex-Astros pitcher Mike Fiers—last month that an in-depth MLB investigation was launched.

According to Rosenthal and Drellich, four different sources, including Fiers, said the Astros stole signs electronically during the 2017 season. Houston allegedly used cameras positioned in the outfield at Minute Maid Park to pick up signs in real time, with the team then using a monitor near the dugout and verbal cues to relay the signs to the hitter at the plate.

Houston went 8-1 at home during the 2017 postseason, with the lone loss coming at the hands of Wood and the Dodgers. Wood told McCullough that he rotated signs throughout his start.

"Once you get out there, you don't want to have to think that much," Wood said. "And adding another thinking component to it, especially for a lot of guys, can be difficult. Thank God that I used multiples and was changing my signs quite a bit. Obviously, it probably would have turned out not very good at all."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts previously acknowledged that his club had been aware of possible misconduct by the Astros and said they had taken certain precautions as a result. However, Roberts added that Los Angeles didn't know the extent of Houston's tactics.

Earlier this month, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred declined to give a possible timetable for the league's investigation into the sign-stealing scandal, only noting that it is "the most thorough investigation that the commissioner's office has ever undertaken."