MLB

Aaron Judge slams 'weak' Astros punishment

By Sports Desk February 18, 2020

Aaron Judge believes the punishment handed to the Houston Astros by MLB in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal has been too weak.

The Astros were found to have stolen signs of opposition teams on the way to winning the championship in 2017, as well as for part of 2018.

General manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were subsequently fired by the team after they were initially suspended, while the Boston Red Sox dismissed manager Alex Cora.

He had been bench coach for the Astros before leaving to lead the Red Sox to the championship in 2018, with an investigation into Boston ongoing.

Last week, however, Astros owner Jim Crane claimed the team felt the sign-stealing did not impact the game.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred stated in January that the league did not plan to strip either team of their respective championships and Judge, who was part of a New York Yankees team which lost to the Astros in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) in both 2017 and 2019, has been left frustrated.

"I wasn't a fan of the punishment," Judge told a news conference in relation to Astros players being given immunity in exchange for their testimonies. "I thought it was a little weak for a player-driven scheme."

"That's how I feel, it wasn't earned playing the game right and fighting to the end," he added when asked if the Astros should be stripped of the title.

"They weren't competing and we're competitors. The biggest thing about competition is laying it all on the line and whoever is the better player, the better person, comes out on top.

"You lay it out there and to know another team had an advantage which you can't guard against, I don't feel that's earned. It's not earned."

The Yankees do not face the Astros until May, when they play a three-game stand in Houston.

Judge is not the only player to have revealed his disappointment at MLB's punishment, with Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis also left frustrated.

"It's anger," Markakis told reporters on Tuesday. "I feel like every single guy over there needs a beating. It's wrong. They're messing with people's careers."

NBA great LeBron James also weighed in, calling on commissioner Manfred to take on board the comments from the players of opposing teams in regards to the scandal.

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