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Ex-Blue Jays pitcher sues Astros over cheating scandal

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Los Angeles (AFP)

Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mike Bolsinger is suing the Houston Astros for damages over the team's 2017 sign-stealing scandal, alleging that the cheating controversy adversely impacted his career, a report said Monday.

Bolsinger has not played a game in Major League Baseball since he was demoted after being hammered by the Astros bats during a game in Houston on August 4, 2017.

The 32-year-old pitcher conceded four runs, four hits and three walks in just 29 pitches during a torrid outing that he believes was responsible for effectively ending his career.

At the time of his nightmare outing in Houston, Bolsinger was trying to nail down a permanent roster spot as a reliever for the second half of the season.

"I was an older guy. They had younger guys to call up," Bolsinger told USA Today on Monday. "Let's say that (Astros game) doesn't happen -- I probably don't get sent down. But at that point, they probably lost faith in me and were over it."

The Astros, who would go on to win the World Series, have since been heavily sanctioned by Major League Baseball after an investigation found the team had illegally stole signs from opposition pitchers throughout 2017.

The team was fined $5 million by Major League Baseball over the scandal while skipper A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were both banned and subsequently fired by the Astros.

Bolsinger is seeking unspecified damages in a civil lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court which accuses the Astros of unfair business practices and negligence.

Bolsinger also wants the Astros to forfeit the $31 million in bonuses received for winning the World Series, with funds to go to Los Angeles children's charities and retired players in need of financial assistance.

The MLB's investigation into the scandal revealed that the Astros had set up an elaborate system using a camera in the outfield to capture signals between opposing pitchers and catchers.

The Astros would then communicate with batters -- often by banging loudly on a trash can -- what kind of pitch was coming.

Bolsinger told USA Today he remembered thinking something was amiss during his stint on the mound in Houston.

"I don't know if I've had a worse outing in my professional career," Bolsinger told USA Today. "I remember saying, 'It was like they knew what I was throwing. They're laying off pitches they weren't laying off before. It's like they knew what was coming.' That was the thought in my head.

"I felt like I didn't have a chance."

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