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Sports Saturday

Dallas Keuchel apologizes for Astros’ sign-stealing scandal

Dallas Keuchel, whom the White Sox signed this offseason, said the Astros didn’t use technology to steal signs every game.

Dallas Keuchel apologized for the Astros using technology to steal signs.
Dallas Keuchel apologized for the Astros using technology to steal signs.
AP Photos

One week after Astros players dodged questions regarding the electronic sign-stealing scandal that rocked Major League Baseball this offseason, Dallas Keuchel apologized for his part in the 2017 debacle. The new White Sox left-hander also expressed disappointment in the former teammate who broke a so-called “clubhouse rule” by sharing the Astros’ dark secrets.

Speaking at McCormick Place before SoxFest on Friday, Keuchel acknowledged the Astros’ mistakes, though he also hinted that Houston wasn’t the only team guilty of stealing signs during the 2017 season.

“When the stuff was going on, it was never intended to be what it’s made to be right now,” Keuchel said. “I’m not going to go into specific details but during the course of the playoffs in ’17 everybody was using multiple signs. . . . It’s just what the state of baseball was at that point in time. Was it against the rules? Yes it was. And I personally am sorry for what’s come about the whole situation.”

News of the Astros using a center-field camera to steal opponent’s signs and relay them to batters by banging on trash cans in the dugout was brought to light in November by Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers, who played for the Astros from 2015 through 2017.

Some have applauded Fiers for bringing awareness to the scheme, while others said he shouldn’t have come forward.

Asked specifically what he thought of Fiers going on the record about the Astros’ illegal use of technology, Keuchel said it’s a “tough subject’’ due to the tight-knit nature of the clubhouse.

“It sucks to the extent of the clubhouse rule was broken,” he said. “That’s where I’ll go with that. I don’t have much else to say about Mike.”

Keuchel, whom the Sox signed to a three-year, $55.5 million deal last month, became the first current or former Astros player to apologize for the fiasco, though he believes more of his teammates will express remorse in the near future.

“For most of us, the human element is real,” Keuchel said. “And a lot of guys are not happy with the fact that Mike came out and said something or the fact that this even happened. But at the same time, there is some sorrow in guys’ voices. I have talked to guys before and this will be going on for a long time, and I’m sure in the back of guys minds this will stick forever.”

Many players and fans have expressed frustration in the Astros’ cheating ways.

Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish said last week he wanted to know the truth as to whether he was tipping pitches during the 2017 World Series or if the Astros had electronic help.

Meanwhile, former White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar had early suspicions about the Astros.

During a 2017 game in Houston, Farquhar recalled hearing the sound of someone banging trash cans in the Astros’ dugout before every off-speed pitch. After it happened numerous times, Farquhar stepped off the mound and met with catcher Kevan Smith to change the signs as if a runner was on second base.

“I honestly had no idea [they were using technology],” Farquhar recalled. “I didn’t even know if I was hearing the things correctly. It’s one of those things where, who am I to accuse another team of something? So I just dealt with the situation the best I could.”

It’s unclear what the fallout from this scandal will have on baseball. But Keuchel believes it was a conversation baseball needs to have.

“If we’re gonna go into robot umpires or automated strike zones then definitely a mic to a pitcher [and] catcher should be [developed],” Keuchel said. “But if we’re not gonna do that, then keep it as is. So it’s either let’s do one thing or let’s do the other and quit talking about it.”