Blue Jays bench coach apologizes for role in Astros sign stealing scandal

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 02: Bench coach Dave Hudgens #39 of the Toronto Blue Jays had to answer for his role in the 2017 Houston Astros sign stealing scandal. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The Houston Astros electronic sign stealing scandal continues to be a story that refuses to go away, even as baseball teams have players begin to report for spring training ahead of the 2020 season. We’ve seen the Astros front office punished, multiple managers around the league fired, former players apologize, and even lawsuits from pitchers that were victimized by the scheme.

The scandal has spread to members of plenty of different teams around the league, and on Wednesday it was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays’ turn to speak on their role in the drama.

Dave Hudgens, the current bench coach of the Blue Jays, was the hitting coach in Houston from 2015 through the 2018 season, which includes the now infamous 2017 season where the video-aided sign stealing strategy was employed.

Hudgens spoke to the media Wednesday at the team’s spring training facility in Dunedin about the scandal.

“The biggest thing I regret and am sorry that I didn’t do something more to stop that when it was actually happening.” Hudgens said, according to the Toronto Sun. “I think something could have been done and it didn’t and now we are dealing with this.”

The system, which boiled down to a hilariously rudimentary banging of a trash can in the hallway, first caught Hudgens’ attention while he was in the dugout.

“I can remember sitting in the dugout and hearing a bang,” Hudgens told the media. “I asked one of the players what’s going on, what’s the banging. (They said) it lets me know when a breaking ball is coming. It just went from there.”

“Obviously, it’s something that’s not right,” he added, according to Sportsnet. “It shouldn’t have been done, we should have nipped it in the bud early.”

There’s a word for learning something wrong is happening and doing nothing to rectify it, and that is complicity. Hudgens is one of the few members of the 2017 Astros coaching staff that hasn’t had to answer for their involvement in the scandal, which is somewhat surprising considering he was the hitting coach and the entire enterprise was based around hitting.

As with everyone involved in the organization, Hudgens participated in the investigation by Major League Baseball into the scandal. He said he was unable to comment on the content of those interactions.

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