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Astros Fire A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow Following Suspensions for Sign Stealing

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The Astros have fired manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow following Major League Baseball's unprecedented discipline over the club illegally stealing signs.

Houston's dismissal of Hinch and Luhnow came shortly after commissioner Rob Manfred handed both men one-year suspensions which run through the 2020 World Series. 

"When I found out, I was very upset. We want to be known as playing by the rules," owner Jim Crane said of the sign-stealing allegations. "Neither one of those guys implemented this or pushed it through the system...but neither one of them did anything about it. That's unfortunate and the consequences are severe."

The Astros were also fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under MLB's constitution, and must forfeit first- and second-round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021.

"I regret being connected to these events, am disappointed in our club's actions within this timeline, and I accept the Commissioner's decision," Hinch said a statement.

"While the evidence consistently showed I didn't endorse or participate in the sigh stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry."

Luhnow added that he accepts responsibility for the rules violations that occurred while he was the team's president and GM, but that he did not know rules were being broken.

"I am not a cheater," Luhnow said in his statement. "Anybody who has worked closely with me during my 32-year career inside and outside baseball can attest to my integrity."

No players will be punished, and the league chose only to discipline those in positions of authority.

The allegations against the Astros first came to light in a November report by The Athletic when former Houston pitcher Mike Fiers accused his former team of using a centerfield camera to steal catchers' signs. The pitches were then relayed to batters by a teammate or teammates banging on a trash can in the dugout.

Crane said he does not know if the club will have an interim manager or hire one by the time spring training starts.