Five days later, A.J. Hinch clarifies non-answer on Astros' alleged buzzers

Jack Baer
Writer

Former Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch tried to show remorse and tell his side of the story for his team’s cheating in 2017 in an interview with Tom Verducci on MLB Network last Friday, but one of his answers was unsatisfactory to many observers.

When asked about whispers — amplified by some of the loudest voices in baseball — that the Astros’ cheating didn’t stop with their infamous trash can banging scheme, but evolved into an advanced buzzer system, Hinch didn’t have much to say.

His non-answer:

Can you assure us that there were no buzzers or anything like that being used?

“Well the Commissioner — we got investigated for three months. And the Commissioner’s office did as thorough an investigation as anyone could imagine, as possible. I mean I know you mentioned the emails, and the texts, and the messages. And I believe them.”

You will notice that when asked for an assurance the Astros didn’t use buzzers, Hinch responded by passing the buck to MLB’s investigation. MLB has gone on record saying it found no evidence of such buzzers, but didn’t totally repudiate such rumors.

Five days later, Hinch issued a statement to clarify his answer after “a significant reaction” to his buzzer answer. From Sports Illustrated:

In the statement Hinch said, “After my interview with Tom Verducci last week, there has been a significant reaction to my answer to the ‘buzzer’ question. To be clear, I have never seen any such device used in baseball. I am not aware of any such device existing or being utilized with the Astros, the players, or any other team.

“I was first asked about such devices during the investigation by MLB. In my interview with Tom, I acknowledged the commissioner’s report as evidence due to the in-depth nature of the investigation, not as an intended non-answer or a way to elude the question.”

That answer ... isn’t much better. Hinch does actually give his own answer to the question this time, but he leaves the same caveat MLB left when it said it found no evidence of the buzzers. It almost seems crafted to absolve Hinch of responsibility for any further transgressions that could be uncovered, rather than provide a firm “no.”

Additionally, it’s quite something that Hinch took five days to clarify this when that “significant reaction” came almost instantly after the interview aired. Of course, a delayed and unsatisfactory response to such matters is kind of how Hinch got into this position in the first place.

A.J. Hinch is out of baseball for a year, and possibly even longer. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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