Former Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch issued a statement Wednesday night that he is not aware that his team or any other team used wearable buzzers to communicate stolen signs.
Hinch issued his statement when asked by Sports Illustrated for a response to a news conference at the New York Yankees’ camp in Tampa in which manager Aaron Boone was asked about Hinch’s answer about buzzers in his interview last week with SI and MLB Network.
In the statement Hinch said, “After my interview with Tom Verducci last week, there has been a significant reaction to my answer to the ‘buzzer’ question. To be clear, I have never seen any such device used in baseball. I am not aware of any such device existing or being utilized with the Astros, the players, or any other team.
“I was first asked about such devices during the investigation by MLB. In my interview with Tom, I acknowledged the commissioner’s report as evidence due to the in-depth nature of the investigation, not as an intended non-answer or a way to elude the question.”
In the interview last week Hinch was asked if he could assure people that the Astros did not wear signal-transmitting buzzers during the 2019 American League Championship Series against the Yankees. The investigation by the commissioner’s office looked into such speculation but found no such evidence.
Hinch responded to the question last week by saying, “We got investigated for three months. The commissioner’s office did as thorough an investigation as anyone could imagine was possible. I know you mentioned the e-mails and the texts and the messages. And I believe it. And I believe in the findings.”
Hinch’s answer was cited at Boone’s press conference as a preface to a question about whether Boone was “fully convinced” the Astros were not using any such devices in the 2019 ALCS. Boone responded, “No. I mean, that’s certainly one of those great unknowns. Certainly I’ve spent time as I’m sure a lot of people have wondering all the things that potentially could have been going on. And we’ll probably never know for sure, frankly.”
Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, who hit the series walkoff home run, previously denied to SI through his agent, Scott Boras, using any such device. He and the Astros players are expected today to address the sign-stealing scheme, including accusations about buzzers, at their spring training complex in West Palm Beach, Fla.