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Pitcher Sues Astros for Cheating

Houston was stealing signs when it hit Mike Bolsinger hard in a game that ended his career
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2020 4:32 PM CST
Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Mike Bolsinger, left, walks off the mound as Houston Astros' Marwin Gonzalez rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the fourth inning on Aug. 4, 2017,...   (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

(Newser) – Newly converted to a reliever, Mike Bolsinger was trying to hold onto his roster spot with the Toronto Blue Jays when he took the mound in Houston on Aug. 4, 2017. He got just one out, as seven of the eight batters to come to the plate reached base. Bolsinger gave up four runs, four hits and three walks. That was his last major league appearance, USA Today reports; the Blue Jays weren't interested in him anymore after that game, and neither was any other team. "I don't know if I've had a worse outing in my professional career," Bolsinger said. "I remember saying, 'It was like they knew what I was throwing.'" That thought turned into a lawsuit, filed Monday. Bolsinger accuses the Astros of unfair business practices, negligence and intentional interference with contractual and economic relations. A Major League Baseball investigation found the Astros were stealing the catcher's signs at the time, so that their hitters would know what kind of pitch was on its way. The Astros did not immediately comment Monday.

The suit cites a fan's documentation of how often a trash can was banged before a pitch, which was the indicator the Astros used. Twelve of Bolsinger's 29 pitches were preceded by the noise, the fan found. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages sought, but it does call for the Astros to pay $31 million in restitution, thought to equal the postseason money the team collected for winning the World Series, per the Los Angeles Times. Bolsinger wants that money to go to charities that help young people and retired players in need. "There's a message to be sent to youth out there," he said. "You don't have to cheat to get to where you want to go." He'd also like to send a message about the penalties handed out by MLB. "All these guys are going to get managing jobs again," Bolsinger said. "Guys like us that were cheated? I don't have a job. I'm not playing." (Pete Rose doesn't find the penalties fair, either.)

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