Rangers C Robinson Chirinos denies involvement in Astros’ sign-stealing scheme, wants MLB to publicly clear his name

Rangers C Robinson Chirinos denies involvement in Astros’ sign-stealing scheme, wants MLB to publicly clear his name




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SURPRISE, Ariz. — Robinson Chirinos begins spring training with a priority: To once, and for all, clear his name.

Unsolicited, Chirinos took time out from his first spring workout Wednesday after returning to the Rangers to deny any involvement in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme.

No, he did not wear a buzzer at any point last year while with the Astros to receive real-time communication about the pitch that was coming. No, a piece of a communication device did not fly off his bat during the World Series, despite a video that has circulated on the internet that shows something coming off his bat during a swing. And, yes, he told Major League Baseball about all of this during its offseason investigation of the Astros.

Chirinos sought to clear the air because the video continues to circulate despite MLB’s announcement last month it found no evidence Houston was using buzzers last year as part of an electronic sign-stealing scheme that dated to 2017.

“I feel like I’m getting judged by people and I did nothing wrong,” Chirinos said. “It’s not good the way people are talking about my name. … I’ve never used something like [a buzzer].”

While video of Jose Altuve refusing to let teammates remove his jersey after a series-clinching win against the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series has raised more buzzer conspiracy theories, a video clip of Chirinos has also piqued the interest of amateur internet sleuths.

The video snippet in question shows something flying off Chirinos’ bat during a swing in his first at-bat of Game 4 of the World Series. In the video, Chirinos bends over to pick up the piece of debris and attempts to put it in his back pocket. A close up then shows something flat stuck to the end of one of Chirinos’ batting gloves.

Chirinos explained the item was an authentication sticker that had been placed on his bat after he hit a home run in the previous game. The sticker started to peel off before the game and Chirinos sought advice from one of MLB’s “authenticators” in the dugout. The authenticator said he could not replace the sticker until it became unusable but could try to reinforce it with tape. What viewers saw was the taped-down authentication sticker flying off his bat, he said. He said the authenticator then corroborated his explanation during the investigation.

MLB officials, however, did not offer any additional comment on Wednesday.

Questions about the Astros using buzzers have once again re-surfaced following an MLB Network interview with former Astros manager A.J. Hinch. Hinch was suspended and then fired for failing to stop the cheating scandal in 2017-18. While he accepted responsibility for the scandal, Hinch did not explicitly deny the Astros used buzzers during 2019. He instead cited the report released by the Commissioner’s Office.

“I think people who know me, know the person I am,” Chirinos said. “But people who don’t know me, see the video for the first time and think it’s a buzzer. I would like to have MLB clear my name [publicly].”

Chirinos said he has not heard questions hear from Rangers officials or teammates, many of whom he was close to during his first stint with Texas from 2013-18.

“They know me; they know who I am and what I am about,” Chirinos said. “I haven’t really had to say anything to anybody here about it.”

More Rangers news

Texas Rangers pitchers, including, from far left, Yohander Mendez, Tyler Phillips, Joe Barlow, Jason Bahr and pitcher Kyle Cody run on a conditioning field during the first spring training workout for pitchers and catchers at the team's training facility on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Surprise, Ariz.

Cincinnati Reds' Nick Castellanos puts on his cap during a news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Cincinnati. Castellanos signed a $64 million, four-year deal with the baseball club. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)



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