Bellinger rips Astros, Altuve over sign-stealing apologies

2 min

Los Angeles (AFP)

Los Angeles Dodgers star Cody Bellinger hit back at Houston Astros players on Friday following the team's apologies for their 2017 Major League Baseball sign-stealing scandal.

Bellinger said the Astros had "stolen" a championship from the Dodgers during the 2017 World Series and accused Jose Altuve of cheating New York Yankees ace Aaron Judge of an American League Most Valuable Player award.

The 24-year-old Dodgers outfielder's remarks came a day after Astros players lined up to express remorse over their involvement in the scandal which has rocked baseball.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred fined the Astros $5 million and banned manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for 2020 for their role in the scandal. Both Hinch and Luhnow were subsequently fired.

Bellinger, the reigning National League MVP, made it clear he was unimpressed both by the Astros public demonstration of contrition and the MLB sanctions against the Astros.

"I thought the apologies were whatever," Bellinger said Friday. "I thought (Astros owner) Jim Crane's (apology) was weak."

"I thought Manfred's punishment was weak, giving them immunity. I mean these guys were cheating for three years."

Bellinger also believes the Astros' Venezuelan second baseman Altuve had robbed Yankees slugger Judge of the MVP award in 2017 with figures that were inflated due to cheating.

"I think what people don't realize is Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in '17," said Bellinger, a member of the Dodgers team beaten by Houston in a seven-game World Series in 2017.

"Everyone knows they stole the ring from us," he added.

Bellinger also appeared to suggest he believed theories that some Astros players, including Altuve, had been wired with buzzers to alert them to what pitches were coming.

The MLB investigation found no evidence of buzzers being worn by the Astros, which has also been denied by Altuve and other players.

The suspicions have been fueled, however, by footage of Altuve after his walk off home run off Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman in the playoffs last season, which sent the Astros to the World Series.

Altuve can be seen clearly telling teammates not to rip his jersey off -- a common walk off celebration -- before sprinting immediately to the tunnel to change.

"I don't know what human hits a walk off home run against Aroldis Chapman to send your team to the World Series and one, has the thought to say 'Don't rip my jersey off,' and two, go in the tunnel, change your shirt, and then come out and do your interview -- that makes no sense to me," Bellinger said.