FORT MYERS, Fla. — With pitchers and catchers finally reporting for spring training, it's only natural for players to be excited and optimistic about the upcoming season.
Minnesota Twins infielder Marwin González, however, had something else on his mind.
González, who won a World Series with the Houston Astros in 2017, addressed the controversy surrounding his former team. A recent investigation uncovered that the Astros used cameras to steal signs from opposing teams throughout the 2017 season, and then relayed those signs to hitters in an effort to gain an offensive advantage.
The allegations stemmed from former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers, who blew the whistle on the team, but on Tuesday, González became the first position player to admit to — and apologize for — the sign-stealing scandal, according to MLB.com Minnesota Twins reporter Do-Hyoung Park.
“I’m remorseful for everything that happened in 2017, for everything that we did as a group, and for the players that were affected directly by us doing this," said González at the Twins' spring training facility in Fort Myers, Florida. "That’s why I feel more regret and that’s why I’m remorseful.”
González is the first hitter to admit to the scandal, which is substantial because it was the Astros' hitters who directly benefited from the team stealing signs.
González had arguably the best season of his career in 2017, hitting .303 with 23 home runs and 90 RBI — all career-highs.
His numbers have since seen a decline, both in average and power. González averaged .255 over his next two seasons and he hasn't surpassed 16 home runs or 68 RBI in a season since.
It's impossible to gauge just how much of an impact the scandal had on his performance, but it's evidently done enough for González to issue a public apology.
Former MLB pitcher Mike Bolsinger filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Astros over their sign-stealing scandal.
According to the suit, Bolsinger, then a reliever with the Toronto Blue Jays, was put into a game at Houston on Aug. 4, 2017, and allowed four runs, four hits and three walks in one-third of an inning in a 16-7 loss. The suit said the right-hander “was immediately terminated and cut from the team, never to return to Major League Baseball again.”
Twins' pitchers and catchers reported for 2020 spring training on Tuesday and will have their first workout on Wednesday. González and the other position players are expected to report Sunday.
According to Park, González hasn't had a chance to address many of his teammates since the scandal was uncovered.
"Marwin has a desire to talk to his teammates in one way, shape or form." said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. "Either way, he's a guy who is very sensitive to his teammates. ... We are going to support him through the process and help him in every possible way."