Alex Cora was the Houston Astros' bench coach in 2017. The Astros have been accused of using an elaborate operation to steal signs in 2017.

Sounds like Cora has some explaining to do.

The current Boston Red Sox manager played a "key role" in devising Houston's electronic sign-stealing system along with Astros manager A.J. Hinch and then-designated hitter/outfielder Carlos Beltran, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported Wednesday night.

Major League Baseball is "virtually certain" to interview Cora, Hinch and Beltran as it investigates the Astros, Rosenthal and Drellich added.

Here's how Houston's system worked: The team set up a camera in center field at Minute Maid Park that fed to a television monitor fixed on a wall between the home dugout and the Astros' clubhouse. Club employees and players would watch that monitor to identify the catcher's signs and relay them to the hitter by banging loudly on a trash can in the hallway.

Cora was second in command to Hinch as Houston's bench coach, so it wouldn't be surprising if he was heavily involved in the setup and/or execution of this system. Drellich and Rosenthal added that Hinch, Cora and Beltran -- now manager of the New York Mets -- weren't the only team members involved in the scheme.

Cora left the Astros right after they won the 2017 World Series to become manager of the Red Sox (who also were accused of stealing signs in 2017). The 44-year-old Puerto Rico native is trying to return Boston to relevancy after a disappointing 2019 campaign, but he may have to answer for his past first.

 

UPDATE (9:20 a.m. ET): Cora addressed his role in Houston's sign-stealing scheme Thursday morning in a brief statement to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham:

"At this time MLB and the Astros are conducting an investigation. It would be irresponsible on my part to comment while it’s going on."

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