NL MVP Cody Bellinger called out José Altuve and the Houston Astros for swiping their trophies and said he suspected they kept scheming last season, too.
All-Star pitcher Trevor Bauer went even farther.
"I'm not going to let them forget the fact that they are hypocrites, they are cheaters, they've stolen from a lot of other people and the game itself," Bauer told reporters at Cincinnati's spring training camp in Goodyear, Arizona.
The fallout from the Astros' sign-stealing scam continued Friday, a day after Houston owner Jim Crane was widely criticized for an apology that rang hollow to many.
"They cheated. They were found guilty of it. And I haven't heard it yet," said Washington general Mike Rizzo, whose team beat Houston in Game 7 of the World Series last year.
"The thing that pains me the most is it puts a black cloud over the sport that I love. And that's not right. The commissioner did an investigation and found that they cheated in 2017 and 2018. Somebody's got to say the words over there: 'cheated.' And that's important to me," Rizzo said.
New Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood had another message for the Astros: look out. There's been speculation Houston hitters might face on-field retaliation from opposing pitchers.
“You’d be hard-pressed to say no. I mean, they messed with a lot of guys’ lives," he said.
“But it wouldn’t surprise me if something like that happened, just to be honest. It’s funny, because I’m pretty sure it probably will happen. Somebody will take it into their own hands, and they’ll get suspended more than any of those guys got for the biggest cheating scandal in 100 years. It’ll be pretty ironic when that happens, because I’m sure that’s how it will end up playing out.’’
Meanwhile, a few more Astros on that 2017 team spoke up.
"There's a line and it was definitely crossed. I want to say sorry to the fans, Major League Baseball, my peers, and anybody else who was affected by this," new Mets outfielder Jake Marisnick said.
Mets teammate J.D. Davis said he felt "ashamed" to be part of the scandal. He also admitted not telling the truth in December when, asked what he knew of Houston's trash can-banging scheme, said: "I really have no idea or no clue."
"I spoke a little bit prematurely," Davis said at the Mets' camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida. "MLB called and I
Tony Kemp also was on those Astros. Promoted to the majors in late 2017, he quickly got asked by his new Houston teammates whether he wanted to be a part of the sign-stealing scheme.
His answer was a firm no.
"Once I got there in September the system was already in place and I just tried to keep my head down," the infielder said at Oakland's camp.
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he thought the Astros had been breaking rules long before Commissioner Rob Manfred released his report in January.
"I'll acknowledge that we had many a conversion with Major League Baseball the last number of years about suspicions, but having suspicions and being able to prove it are two different things," Cashman said.
Crane initially said he didn't think the scam impacted games as the Astros won the 2017 World Series, then backtracked and said it was hard to determine. The Yankees lost to the Astros in a seven-game AL Championship Series that year, dropping all four games in Houston.
"I definitely think it had an effect on things, without question," Cashman said at Yankees' camp in Tampa, Florida. "Certainly the Houston Astros were the only one with a distinct advantage more so than their opponents. That's the fact. So I don't think anybody can disagree with that even though they may try."
Bauer wasn't nearly so diplomatic.
“They mocked everything about everyone who said they were doing something under the table or illegal or whatever,” Bauer said, tossing a few expletives while adding, “Now you’re lying about your apology.”
"What did you expect from them? The entire time they had been super dismissive and it’s very obvious that they don’t think it affected the game. They feel like they were in the right. You can tell a fake apology," he said.
Bellinger said Yankees star Aaron Judge deserved more in 2017 and so did the Dodgers, who lost Game 7 of the World Series to Houston.
“These guys were cheating for three years,’’ Bellinger said. “I think what people don't realize is Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in '17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us."
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The Associated Press