Jonathan Lucroy Says He Changed Signs 'Every Single Pitch' vs. Astros

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2020

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 19: Jonathan Lucroy #20 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on from behind home plate during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on June 19, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Boston Red Sox catcher Jonathan Lucroy said Wednesday he long suspected the Houston Astros were using a sign-stealing system before former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers confirmed it to him when they became teammates with the Oakland Athletics in 2018.

"I knew about that two years ago, that it was going on," Lucroy told reporters. "I know it just recently came out. Everyone in baseball [knew], especially in that division that played against them. But we were all aware of the Astros doing those things, and it was up to us to outsmart them, I guess you could say."

The two-time All-Star spent the past four years competing with Houston in the American League West while a member of the A's, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels. He explained the extreme measures he tried to take whenever his teams faced off with the Astros:

"It's kind of hard when you have a computer program that breaks your signs. We actively changed signs. Every single pitch, we were changing signs. You had to because they would relay them to second, stealing them from first, too—from between your legs. They had a very intricate system going on. We were well aware of it and it was a challenge. It was a mental challenge to really overcome that. It's easier said than done. But it's a shame and I'm glad it came out and it came to light."

Lucroy stated the Athletics raised concerns to MLB about the Astros, but the league didn't investigate until the sign-stealing scheme became public when Fiers provided details to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic in November.

The 33-year-old Florida native also questioned why Houston players weren't punished for the scheme. He was a teammate of the Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun when the outfielder received a 65-game suspension for violations of the league's drug prevention and treatment program in 2013.

"Guys do steroids and they get punished. Guys cheat with steroids and get punished. I saw that in 2011 with the Brewers with that whole situation there," Lucroy said. "That guy [Braun] got punished. For me, the hardest part, and everyone else has been saying this, you're taking money."

Carlos Beltran was the only Astros player mentioned by name in MLB's report. He retired after the 2017 season, which ended with Houston winning the World Series.

Owner Jim Crane's team was fined $5 million, the maximum amount allowed by the league's constitution, and forfeited its first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts. General manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch received one-year suspensions and were fired by the club.

Lucroy joins a long and growing list of players to speak out about the Astros' actions since the start of spring training this month.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has also received intense backlash for his handling of the scandal and was forced to issue an apology for calling the championship trophy a "piece of metal."

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