Red Sox

MLB Rumors: Yankees' 2017 sign-stealing could be detailed in unsealed letter

MLB Rumors: Yankees' 2017 sign-stealing could be detailed in unsealed letter

The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox had their public reckonings. The New York Yankees might be next.

A New York judge's ruling Friday will allow a 2017 letter from Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred to the Yankees detailing the team's sign-stealing to be unsealed, The Athletic's Evan Drellich reported Friday.

MLB fined the Red Sox in September 2017 for illegally using Apple Watches to steal signs from the Yankees after New York lodged a complaint. But the league also fined the Yankees a lesser amount at the time for the vague transgression of "violat(ing) a rule governing the use of the dugout phone."

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This letter should reveal more about New York's 2017 sign-stealing, and apparently there are some juicy details: The Yankees are arguing the letter "would cause 'significant reputational injury' " to the team if unsealed.

The Astros should be particularly interested in the contents of this letter. Several Yankees players ripped Houston after MLB uncovered its 2017 sign-stealing plot, with Giancarlo Stanton suggesting New York was cheated out of chance to play in the World Series after losing to the Astros in the 2017 American League Championship Series.

But now it appears the Yankees were doing their own illegal sign-stealing during the 2017 season, and the plaintiffs pushing for the letter to be unsealed allege it details a "more serious" sign-stealing scheme than MLB originally revealed in 2017.

MLB's letter won't be unsealed until June 19, per Drellich, and New York may try to appeal to keep it under wraps. If the letter becomes public, though, Astros and Red Sox fans will read it eagerly -- and happily return the favor of lampooning their American League rival.

Red Sox release Brian Johnson despite lack of pitching depth

Red Sox release Brian Johnson despite lack of pitching depth

Brian Johnson apparently isn't part of the Boston Red Sox' pitching plans in 2020.

The Red Sox have released the veteran left-hander, manager Ron Roenicke confirmed to reporters Monday. Roenicke suggested Johnson requested his release so he could see the field elsewhere.

"Johnson felt like he wanted an opportunity," Roenicke said, via MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo. "Sometimes you need to go other places to get that."

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MassLive.com's Christopher Smith reported earlier in the day that Johnson left the team's alternate training site in Pawtucket to return home to Florida, and we now know why.

Johnson appeared to have a chance to crack the Red Sox' thin starting rotation before the 2020 season began. He was on Boston's 2019 Opening Day roster and made seven starts last season, posting a 6.02 ERA over 40.1 innings pitched.

The 29-year-old hasn't been called up to Boston's active roster this season, though, a sign the Red Sox don't view him as a viable option ahead of hurlers like Ryan Weber, Matt Hall, Chris Mazza, Zack Godley and Dylan Covey.

Johnson was a first-round draft pick of the Red Sox in 2012 and has spent his entire career in Boston's organization. He made his major league debut in 2015 and pitched in four different seasons for the Red Sox, compiling a 4.74 ERA over 171 innings pitched and winning a World Series with the club in 2018.

Watch Athletics' Ramon Laureano charge Astros dugout, start a brawl

Watch Athletics' Ramon Laureano charge Astros dugout, start a brawl

The Houston Astros were involved in another benches-clearing scene Sunday afternoon, this time with the Oakland Athletics.

The action started when Athletics outfielder Ramón Laureano was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning. Laureano was understandably upset after being hit. However, Laureano took his frustration too far when he started exchanging words with Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron and eventually charged Houston's dugout. 

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Check out the crazy sequence in the video below: 

Laureano shouldn't be charging the dugout, but Cintron deserves a lot of the blame for what transpired. Coaches shouldn't be getting into heated exchanges with opposing players. 

Houston is not a well-liked team right now, and opponents have not been shy about voicing their opinions of the Astros and their players ever since Major League Baseball handed down unprecedented punishment to Houston in January for its sign-stealing operation that began in 2017.

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly, who's in his second season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was suspended eight games after almost hitting two Astros players in a July 28 game. The suspension sparked a passionate reaction from fans and players on social media, with most people quickly coming to Kelly's defense.

The Astros didn't receive any suspensions for what happened in that game against Kelly and the Dodgers. Houston probably won't be as fortunate this time -- Cintron definitely deserves a suspension for his actions.