Oakland Athletics outfielder Tony Kemp, who joined the 2017 Houston Astros for their stretch run to the World Series title in September of that year, told reporters Friday that he did not participate in the team's sign-stealing scheme.
"Once I got there in September, the system was already in place, and I just tried to keep my head down and play hard and not really concern myself with it," Kemp said, per the Associated Press.
Kemp said that he was asked if he wanted to be part of the scheme when he was called up but chose not to participate. The 28-year-old said that sentiment "stood" through the rest of the season.
He played in Houston from 2016-2019 before being traded to the Chicago Cubs last year. The Cubs then dealt Kemp to the A's this offseason.
Kemp told reporters that he chose not to take part because he "was comfortable with the way I was swinging the bat at the time in Triple-A."
"Once I got called up, I just felt like I was going to trust my abilities up there," Kemp told reporters. "I just didn't want any distractions."
As for his take on the acts themselves, Kemp acknowledged they were wrong while also noting he felt the Astros' apologies in recent days were "sincere."
"I'm not going to say that things that were going on over there were necessarily right. Those things were wrong," Kemp said. "I think that they're feeling remorse now. You see those guys and how they feel and how they're acting and you can definitely tell that there was some wrongdoing there."
Major League Baseball released its findings on the 2017 Astros' sign-stealing scheme on January 13, revealing an elaborate system that included video, garbage cans, runners and other items for home games at Minute Maid Park.
No players were punished, but MLB suspended Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for one year.
Astros owner Jim Crane fired Luhnow and Hinch on the day the suspensions were revealed. The team also forfeited its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021 and fined $5 million.