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Astros owner Jim Crane wins first round in Mike Bolsinger’s lawsuit

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane speaks at a microphone while holding papers.
Houston Astros owner Jim Crane speaks during a news conference before the start of spring training on Feb. 13 in West Palm Beach, Fla.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane does not have to testify under oath about his team’s sign-stealing scandal, a judge ruled Friday.

That might happen later in pitcher Mike Bolsinger’s lawsuit against the Astros, if the lawsuit goes forward. But first the court must decide whether the case should be thrown out or transferred to Texas, and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Draper said Friday that Bolsinger’s attorney had failed to show why sign-stealing questions would be relevant at this time.

Bolsinger sued the Astros in February, blaming them for his inability to find another pitching job after he was shellacked in a game in Houston in 2017. In a report in January, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros had cheated that year by improperly deploying technology to steal signs.

The Astros asked the court to limit the scope of Crane’s pending deposition to issues relating to whether the suit should be heard in California or Texas. As part of that request, Crane submitted a declaration in which he said the report “explicitly exonerated” him. Bolsinger’s attorney, Ben Meiselas, said Crane had opened the door to questions about the report, which Meiselas called in a filing “incredibly critical to the court’s analysis.”

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During a normal year, agent Scott Boras speaks while surrounded by reporters at the MLB winter meetings. This year, Boras will take his act to Zoom.

Draper said Meiselas “does not present any argument as to why such a report, and related cross-examination as to this report, would relate to a decision as to venue.”

Bolsinger pitched for the Dodgers in 2015-16 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017. He lives in Texas.

Bolsinger’s lawsuit cited several reasons for filing the case in Los Angeles, including that the city was “where the defendant Astros fraudulently won the 2017 World Series.” The Astros in turn called the lawsuit “a publicity stunt” and said that the Los Angeles filing did not allege Bolsinger “was injured or suffered damages here.”

A hearing as to whether the suit will be dismissed or moved to Texas is scheduled Feb. 1.


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