Carlos Correa Claps Back at Cody Bellinger, Says José Altuve Didn't Cheat

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Carlos Correa is refuting Cody Bellinger's claims that José Altuve "stole" the 2017 MVP  award from Aaron Judge.

On Saturday, Correa spoke to Ken Rosenthal for a television interview that is set to air later on MLB Interview. Excerpts from the interview were published by Rosenthal on The Athletic earlier in the day.

During the interview, Correa addressed Bellinger's comments and said Altuve did not participate in the trash-can banging scheme Houston used in 2017.

"When we move forward and [Bellinger] talks about Altuve, he says, 'José Altuve cheated Judge out of the MVP.' Cody, you don't know the facts," Correa said. "Nobody wants to talk about this, but I'm going to talk about this. José Altuve was the one guy that didn't use the trash can.

"The few times that the trash can was banged was without his consent, and he would go inside the clubhouse and inside the dugout to whoever was banging the trash can and he would get pissed. ...He played the game clean."

On Friday, Bellinger ripped the Astros' scheme and the team's public apologies.

"I thought the apologies were whatever," Bellinger said. "I thought [Astros owner] Jim Crane's was weak. I thought [Rob] Manfred's punishment was weak, giving [the players] immunity. Those guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don't realize is [José] Altuve stole an MVP from [Aaron] Judge in '17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us. But it's over."

The Dodgers lost the 2017 World Series to Houston in seven games.

Bellinger joined a growing group of MLB players who have questioned Altuve's actions after he hit a walk-off home run against the Yankees to clinch the 2019 American League Championship Series. Houston's second baseman clutched his collar as he rounded third base, imploring teammates not to rip off his jersey.

Correa denied the team wore sign-transmitting buzzers in 2019 and said there are two reasons why Altuve didn't want his jersey ripped off.

"So, one, he didn't want to take his shirt off because his wife had told my wife earlier in the year for me to not do that. So he was telling me not to do it. And, number two, he had an unfinished tattoo that looked kinda bad that he didn't want people to see and people to talk about. That was the reason."

Correa also spoke of the 2017 ALCS against the Yankees, stating that Houston's sign-stealing scheme did not take the series from New York.

"If you expect to win with three runs in four games, you're out of your mind," Correa said

News regarding Houston's illicit sign-stealing scheme has dominated baseball conversations since The Athletic broke the story in November 2019, with former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers going on the record to confirm the allegations, which up until that point had just been rumors. On Jan. 13, commissioner Rob Manfred released a nine-page report detailing how Houston cheated during the 2017-18 regular seasons and postseasons. Manfred suspended Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow through the 2020 World Series, but team owner Jim Crane subsequently fired them.

In the wake of the scandal, the Red Sox and Mets later parted ways with managers Alex Cora and Carlos Beltrán after both men were named in MLB's report. Cora served as the Astros' bench coach in 2017, while Beltrán was a member of the World Series-winning roster.