Two of the Houston Astros' top hitters, third baseman Alex Bregman and second baseman Jose Altuve, issued apologies for their role in a sign-stealing plot that led to the dismissal of manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeffrey Luhnow.
"I have some brief remarks I'd like to share with y'all. I'm really sorry about the choices that were made by my team, by the organization and by me," Bregman said Thursday, with his hands connected at the fingertips reading from a prepared statement. "I've learned from this and I hope to regain the trust of baseball fans. I would also like to thank the Astros' fans for all of their support. We as a team are totally focused on moving forward to the 2020 season."
Altuve, the 2017 American League MVP, and Bregman spoke for a combined one minute, 24 seconds and did not directly address their role in the scandal.
"We had a great team meeting last night. And I want to say the whole Astros organization and the team feels bad about what happened in 2017," Altuve said. "We especially feel remorse for the impact on our fans and the game of baseball. Our team is determined to move forward to play with intensity and bring back a championship to Houston in 2020."
Astros owner Jim Crane and manager Dusty Baker, hired to replace Hinch, said he blames the team's leadership for failing its players. Major League Baseball said in its investigation the scheme was player-driven.
"These are a great group of guys who did not receive proper guidance from their leaders," Crane said Thursday.
Several players on opposing teams have come forward in recent days to share their disdain for the cheating scandal that also brought managerial changes for the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets. New York Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman said the team feels "cheated" after two playoff series losses to the Astros.
Alex Cora, fired by the Red Sox last month, was on the Astros' coaching staff and was identified as one of the ringleaders of the sign-stealing plan in Houston. Carlos Beltran, who played for the Astros, was hired to be the new manager for the Mets but was fired before spring training even began.
Baker was hired Jan. 29 and participated in Thursday's press conference alongside Crane despite having no connection to the cheating plot uncovered in Houston.
"I just want to ask for the baseball world to forgive them for the mistakes that they've made. We're looking forward to an excellent season this year," Baker said.
--Field Level Media