SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A’s starting pitcher Mike Fiers played a huge role in exposing the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. He provided firsthand knowledge and evidence of wrongdoing by the Astros and put his name behind it.

Some believe his actions as a whistleblower were just and appropriate helping clean up major league baseball.

Others disagree. Fiers has received heavy flak for his role shedding light on cheating in baseball, from those in the industry and fans watching this scandal unfold. That’s especially true among the Astros fanbase, which has made him a public enemy for bringing this to light.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was asked in a Tuesday press conference about the criticism and flak pointed his way, and said the league will make sure he is safe and protected whenever he is pitching and when the A’s are on the road playing in an environment hostile to Fiers.

“We will take every possible step to protect Mike Fiers wherever he is playing,” Manfred said, “whether it’s in Houston or somewhere else.”

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Manfred continued his comments, offering unprompted praise for Fiers’ role as a whistleblower.

“I want to be really clear about this,” Manfred said. “Mike, who I do not know, did the industry a service. I do believe that we will be a better institution when we emerge at the end of this episode, without a Mike Fiers, we would probably have a very difficult time cleaning this up. It would’ve taken longer. We would’ve done it eventually, but it would’ve taken a lot longer. I have a real problem with anyone who says Mike did anything other than the right thing.”