Braves catcher Brian McCann. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: CURTIS COMPTON / AJC
Photo: CURTIS COMPTON / AJC

Report: Brian McCann asked Astros to stop sign-stealing scheme

Former Braves catcher Brian McCann approached veteran Astros teammate Carlos Beltran and asked him to stop Houston’s sign-stealing operation, The Athletic reported, citing two unidentified members of the 2017 American League team.

McCann, who retired after suiting up for the Braves in 2019, has not commented publicly on the Astros’ actions. McCann played two seasons for Houston in 2017-18.

The Astros, who won the World Series in 2017, used video cameras and monitors to detect opponents’ pitch selection, and then banged on a trash can to alert their own hitters.

McCann and Beltran played together with the Yankees for three seasons before joining the Astros.

Former Astros pitcher Joe Musgrave, now with the Pirates, has said that as a young player on the team he was unwilling to confront veteran players involved.

“I was in my first year, man,” Musgrove told the MLB Network. “Along with (Alex) Bregman and a lot of those guys, and in your first year in the big leagues you’re around guys like Beltran and McCann, some big names. And I’m not going to be the pitcher to walk up and tell ’em to knock it off.”

Former Braves pitcher Charlie Morton, who also played for the Astros in 2017-18, said Saturday he regretted not making an effort to stop the sign-stealing at the time. Morton now pitches for the Rays.

“I was aware of the banging. ... Being in the dugout, you could hear it. I don’t know when it dawned on me, but you knew it was going on,” Morton said during Tampa Bay’s annual Fan Fest event. 

“Personally, I regret not doing more to stop it. I don’t know what that would have entailed,” the 36-year-old right-hander said. “I think the actions would have been somewhat extreme to stop it. That’s a hypothetical.”

» MARK BRADLEY: MLB bungled the Astros affair

Major League Baseball’s investigation into the allegation first made by former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers resulted in one-season suspensions for manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, a $5 million fine and the loss of Houston’s first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Hinch and Luhnow were fired by the Astros.

Beltran, the New York Mets’ new manager, and Boston skipper Alex Cora, also lost their jobs for their involvement in the sign-sealing system for the Astros. Cora was bench coach on the 2017 team.

» ALSO: Dallas Keuchel apologizes for Astros scandal

Marwin González became the first batter from the 2017 team to publicly apologize for his role Thursday.

González expressed his regret after reporting to spring training with the Minnesota Twins.

“I’m remorseful for everything that happened in 2017, for everything that we did as a group, and for the players that were affected directly by us by doing this and some other things,” González said. He later added: “I wish that we could take it back, but there's nothing we can do now.”

González, a multi-positional player starting his second season of a $21 million, two-year contract with the Twins, had a career year in 2017 with the Astros. He hit .303 with 23 home runs and 90 RBIs in 134 games, with an OPS (.907) that was 148 points better than any other season of his eight-year career.

As for whether the Astros would have won the title without the assistance of the sign-stealing system?

“You’re never going to know. That was a great team. Great guys, too. Beside everything that happened, I know for a fact that they’re great guys, but it’s hard to answer that question,” González said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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