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Astros fire manager A.J. Hinch, GM following scandal punishment

AJ Hinch #14 of the Houston Astros looks on during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2019 World Series against the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Houston Astros have fired manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow after both individuals received a one-year suspension from Major League Baseball.

The suspensions came as part of severe punishment from commissioner Rob Manfred after the Astros used a video camera to steal signs from opposing teams and relay them to Houston batters starting in 2017. The Astros were also fined $5 million and lost their first- and second-round draft picks for the next two drafts.

The Astros used a camera in their home ballpark to relay signs back to the dugout, where a member of the team would then bang on a trash can as a way of providing audible messages to a hitter. “Witnesses have provided largely consistent accounts of how the monitor was utilized,” commissioner Rob Manfred said.

Manfred announced the discipline and strongly hinted that current Boston manager Alex Cora — the Astros bench coach in 2017 — will face punishment later. Manfred said Cora developed the sign-stealing system used by the Astros.

Cora is now the manager of the Boston Red Sox, who could be involved in a similar forthcoming punishment. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that MLB is “still working on” an investigation of the Sox.

Manfred said Hinch was aware of the system but did not bring it to the attention of Luhnow. The GM told Major League Baseball he was unaware of the system but Manfred held him accountable for the team’s actions. Manfred also said owner Jim Crane was not aware.

No players were punished in the ruling. Manfred explained that he “made the decision in September 2017 that I would hold a Club’s General Manager and Field Manager accountable for misconduct of this kind.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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