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Astros owner to court: No questions about sign stealing, please

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane pauses during a news conference.
Houston Astros owner Jim Crane isn’t keen on discussing the team’s cheating scandal.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

The pitcher suing the Houston Astros for allegedly ruining his career has a few questions for Jim Crane, the team’s owner, about the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Should Crane be required to answer them?

No, say the lawyers representing Crane and the Astros.

In March, the Astros asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to throw out Mike Bolsinger’s lawsuit or, at least, to move the case to Texas. In the interim, with most court hearings on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, Bolsinger’s attorney asked to take the deposition of Crane.

The Astros have asked the court to declare that any questions be limited to issues related to whether the case should have been filed in California. They say Bolsinger’s attorney proposes a “fishing expedition” into the substantive issues of the case before the court has decided whether the case should go forward.

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Joe Kelly released the months of pent-up rage the Dodgers and their fans have been feeling ever since MLB found the Houston Astros cheated in 2017.

They also cited the report of commissioner Rob Manfred, who wrote that the league’s investigation “revealed absolutely no evidence that Jim Crane, the owner of the Astros, was aware of any of the conduct described in this report.” The Astros’ manager and general manager each were suspended for one season by Manfred, and subsequently fired by Crane. The team was fined $5 million.

The Astros submitted the report into evidence. In a declaration, Crane said the report “explicitly exonerated” him and said: “I was not involved in any alleged rules violations by the Astros.”

Said Ben Meiselas, the attorney for Bolsinger: “It should not be controversial to ask Mr. Crane questions during his deposition about statements he made in his own declaration about the MLB investigation. We are after the truth and transparency.”

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Bolsinger sued the Astros in February, claiming the poor performance that ultimately marked his final major league appearance was tainted because it came in Houston, at a time the Astros have been found to be cheating.

He faced eight batters, seven of whom reached base. He threw 29 pitches — with 12, according to the suit, preceded by the bangs on a trash can that have since been revealed to be the sounds used to alert Astros batters that an offspeed pitch was coming. The journeyman pitcher has not found a major or minor league job since then.


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