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Bregman, Astros talk scandal

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Alex Bregman spoke for about 30 seconds and said he was sorry, but did not say why. He said he had learned, but did not say what.

On a patch of grass between the Houston Astros’ spring training building and fields, under a sun obscured by clouds, the star third baseman stepped to a microphone at a news conference, becoming the first player Thursday to apologize — without really discussing with any details — for the sign-stealing scheme from the club’s 2017 World Series championship season.

“I am really sorry about the choices that were made by my team, by the organization and by me. I have learned from this and I hope to regain the trust of baseball fans,” Bregman began, before thanking Astros fans and saying he and his teammates “are totally focused on moving forward to the 2020 season.”

And thus the script was set.

The most eyebrow-raising statement came soon thereafter, when Astros owner Jim Crane replied to a question from a reporter by saying: “Our opinion is that this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series. And we’ll leave it at that.”

Moments later, Crane tried to backtrack, saying, “It’s hard to determine how it impacted the game, if it impacted the game.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred disciplined the Astros after he found the team broke rules by using electronics to steal signs during 2017 and 2018. The investigation found the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to view and decode opposing catchers’ signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve chances of getting a hit.

Manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were given one-year suspensions by Manfred; Crane then quickly fired both. MLB did not punish any players for the cheating and Crane said he stood by that.

Bucs ink Dyson

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed outfielderJarrod Dyson to a one-year contract for the 2020 season. The announcement was made by General Manager, Ben Cherington.

Dyson spent the entire 2019 season with Arizona, where he recorded at least 30 stolen bases for the fifth time in his career while also establishing career highs in games (130), runs scored (65), hits (92), home runs (seven) and walks (47).

The 35-year-old Dyson also recorded the second-best stolen base percentage (88.2) among all National League players in 2019 after being successful in 30 of his 34 stolen base attempts, trailing only Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich (93.8). He finished third overall in the National League in stolen bases, while becoming just the sixth different player in Diamondbacks history to steal at least 30 bases in a single season.

Since the beginning of the 2012 season, Dyson has recorded 60 Defensive Runs Saved according to FanGraphs, which ranks fourth among all Major League center fielders behind Kevin Kiermaier (117), Lorenzo Cain (106) and Juan Lagares (80).

Dyson has compiled a .247 career average (573-for-2317) with 76 doubles, 36 triples, 21 home runs, 170 RBI, 250 stolen bases and 361 runs scored in 858 games with Kansas City (2010-16), Seattle (2017) and Arizona (2018-19). He will wear uniform #6.

To make room for Dyson on the 40-man roster, Jameson Taillon has been placed on the 60-day injured list.

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