Yankees' Gerrit Cole Doesn't Apologize for Astros' Cheating: I Was Unaware of It

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2020

New York Yankees' pitcher Gerrit Cole speaks during a news conference after a spring training baseball workout Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole told reporters Thursday he was unaware of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing setup, which the team implemented before he arrived in 2018.

"I had no idea of any of it going on," he said. "I certainly don't think I have much to apologize for."

Cole might have to answer some difficult questions from his new teammates.

The results of MLB's investigation covered the 2017 season and part of 2018, laying out how the Astros used a center field camera and replay room to steal signs from opposing teams. Cole wasn't a member of the team until January 2018, when the Pittsburgh Pirates traded him to Houston.

However, the Wall Street Journal's Jared Diamond also reported the Astros also logged the catcher's signs on an Excel spreadsheet and used algorithm called "Codebreaker" to figure out pitches based on the sign sequences. According to Diamond, the tactic was utilized for at least part of 2018.

There's also the persistent rumor Astros hitters were relayed signals through wearable devices such as buzzers. The speculation has been fueled partly by Jose Altuve appearing to tell his teammates not to rip off his jersey following his walk-off home run in last year's American League Championship Series.

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"I've seen that video—a lot of people have seen that video; it's a popular video right now," Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman said, per ESPN's Buster Olney. "And yeah, if you look at his actions, they look a little suspicious. At the end of the day, I just don't know."

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci the league looked into the matter and found no evidence the Astros used a buzzer or another device under their uniforms.

Cole didn't stand to benefit from the sign-stealing in the same way Astros hitters did, but he enjoyed the team's collective success—an ALCS run in 2018 and an AL pennant in 2019.

Because he no longer plays for the team, the three-time All-Star is unlikely to face the kind of scrutiny the members of the Astros will in 2020. Thursday probably won't be the last time he has to address the scandal, though.