The Houston Astros' sign stealing did not impact the outcome of the 2017 World Series, according to team owner Jim Crane.

A league investigation found the Astros had stolen signs during their 2017 championship, and general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended and then fired by Houston in a story that has dominated the MLB offseason.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were beaten by the Astros in the seventh and deciding game of the World Series, but MLB commissioner Rob Manfred suggested the team will not be stripped of their title.

Speaking to the media at spring training on Thursday, Crane said: "Our opinion is this didn't impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series and we'll leave it at that."

With Luhnow and Hinch already dismissed, and Alex Cora - formerly the Astros' bench coach - having left his role as manager of the Boston Red Sox, Crane added: "I don't think I should be held accountable."

Second baseman and 2017 American League MVP Jose Altuve was more apologetic, saying: "The whole Astros organisation and the team feels bad about what happened in 2017.

"The team is determined to move forward, to play with intensity and to bring back a championship to Houston in 2020."

And eight-time All-Star Justin Verlander later spoke to reporters, revealing his regret at the team's actions.

"Once I spent some time and understood what was happening, I wish I had said more," said Verlander, who joined the team during the 2017 campaign and was named AL Championship Series MVP.

"Looking back, I can't go back, I can't reverse my decision. Like I said, I wish I had said more. I didn't and, for that, I'm sorry."

Houston Astros star Jose Altuve is adamant the embattled franchise "will be fine" and will be in the World Series again after the sign-stealing scandal.

The Astros sacked general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch after the duo were suspended following an MLB investigation into allegations of sign stealing.

Luhnow and Hinch were given year-long bans by MLB while Houston were fined $5million and have been forced to forfeit their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros were warned about the league's policies on sign stealing in September 2017 and "took no action" to comply with these during their run to a maiden World Series title later that season.

But on Saturday, 2017 American League MVP Altuve told reporters: "Believe me, in the end of the year, everything will be fine.

"We're going to be in the World Series again. People don't believe it, we will. We will. We made it last year, we were one game away of winning it all."

Altuve – a six-time All-Star and 2015 Gold Glove winner – added: "I have two options. One is cry, and one is go down and play the game and [perform] and help my team. And you know what one I am going to do."

"It's a tough situation, and as a team, we have to stay together and go through this as a team like we've been doing, always," added five-time Silver Slugger Altuve.

"We have to talk about it at spring training and try not to let things in the past distract us for next year."

 

A.J. Hinch apologised for failing to stop the Houston Astros' alleged sign stealing in 2017.

The Astros fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager Hinch after the duo were suspended following an MLB investigation into allegations of sign stealing.

Luhnow and Hinch were given year-long bans by MLB while Houston were fined $5million and have been forced to forfeit their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros were warned about the league's policies on sign stealing in September 2017 and "took no action" to comply with these during their run to a maiden World Series title later that season.

Hinch released a statement of his own later on Monday, apologising for failing to stop the Astros' sign stealing.

"I appreciate commissioner Manfred's unwavering commitment to upholding the best interests of baseball. I regret being connected to these events, am disappointed in our club's actions within this timeline, and I accept the commissioner's decision," he said.

"As a leader and Major League manager, it is my responsibility to lead players and staff with integrity that represents the game in the best possible way. While the evidence consistently showed I didn't endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry.

"I apologise to Mr. [Jim] Crane for all negative reflections this may have had on him and the Astros organisation. To the fans, thank you for your continued support through this challenging time - and for this team. I apologise to all of you for our mistakes but I'm confident we will learn from it - and I personally commit to work tirelessly to ensure I do.

"My time in Houston has provided some of the greatest moments in my career and those memories will always be near and dear to me and my family. I regret that my time with the Astros has ended, but will always be a supporter of the club, players, and staff I've had the privilege of working alongside. I wish them the best in the future of the game I love."

The Houston Astros have fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch after the duo were suspended following an MLB investigation into allegations of sign stealing.

Luhnow and Hinch were given year-long bans by MLB while Houston were fined $5million and have been forced to forfeit their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros were warned about the league's policies on sign stealing in September 2017 and "took no action" to comply with these during their run to a maiden World Series title later that season.

"While it is impossible to determine whether the conduct actually impacted the results on the field, the perception of some that it did causes significant harm to the game," Manfred said.

Shortly after that announcement, Houston owner Jim Crane conducted a news conference in which he confirmed Luhnow and Hinch had been dismissed.

"I'm going above and beyond MLB's penalty, today I have made the decision to dismiss A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow," Crane told reporters.

"We need to move forward with a clean slate and the Astros will become a stronger organisation because of this today.

"You can be confident that we will always do the right thing and we will not have this happen on my watch."

MLB instigated an investigation following allegations from a report in The Athletic, which quoted Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers, who said Houston were using a camera positioned in the outfield to detect signs and relay them to hitters.

As well as suspending Luhnow and Hinch, former Astros assistant Brandon Taubman has also received a year-long ban from MLB. 

Taubman had been fired by the Astros in October following offensive comments he directed at a group of female reporters.

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