Red Sox

Sources: Astros employee caught by Red Sox, Indians was involved in Yankee Stadium incident

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Sources: Astros employee caught by Red Sox, Indians was involved in Yankee Stadium incident

BOSTON — Kyle McLaughlin, the Astros employee who was caught “monitoring the field” during the ALDS and ALCS, was also in tow at Yankee Stadium in May when an Astros employee confronted a Yankees employee, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC Sports Boston.

As first reported by the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman in late May confronted a Yankees employee whom the Astros believed to have impermissibly set up a camera in center field at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees had league permission to set up the camera.

Taubman was not alone on the mission in center field, with McLaughlin there as well.

“It was a whole tag team,” one source said. “He was on his belly taking pictures [in center field]. And then Brandon went into a secured area, was very aggressive. They just didn't give a [crap]."

When McLaughlin was found at Fenway Park in the ALCS, Taubman went to retrieve McLaughlin. The Yankees did not catch McLaughlin taking dugout pictures, as the Red Sox and Indians did. But the Red Sox were wise to the fact McLaughlin had been part of an incident involving security not only in Cleveland, but in New York as well.

Major League Baseball did not respond to a request for comment. Asked about the New York incident, an Astros spokesman declined comment during the ALCS. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow also declined an interview request a day after he said the Astros were merely trying to make sure other teams were following the rules.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said in the ALCS that he was unaware of McLaughlin's missions, and indicated it was a front-office matter.

"I was surprised," Hinch said. "So I didn't know. I don't know him. I don't know him. I've seen him before. I've seen him around. It's not about this kid. I was unaware.

"So I think there's a lot of — for me, there's a lot of ultra focus this time of year on what you're doing. But to me, I'm sure Jeff addressed whatever the process was or however it came about, competitively on the field we had no idea."

Major League Baseball issued a statement citing two postseason incidents with the Astros. 

“Before the Postseason began, a number of Clubs called the Commissioner’s Office about sign stealing and the inappropriate use of video equipment.  The concerns expressed related to a number of Clubs, not any one specific Club.  In response to these calls, the Commissioner’s Office reinforced the existing rules with all playoff Clubs and undertook proactive measures, including instituting a new prohibition on the use of certain in-stadium cameras, increasing the presence of operations and security personnel from Major League Baseball at all Postseason games and instituting a program of monitoring Club video rooms.

“With respect to both incidents regarding a Houston Astros employee, security identified an issue, addressed it and turned the matter over to the Department of Investigations. A thorough investigation concluded that an Astros employee was monitoring the field to ensure that the opposing Club was not violating any rules.  All Clubs remaining in the playoffs have been notified to refrain from these types of efforts and to direct complaints about any in-stadium rules violations to MLB staff for investigation and resolution.  We consider the matter closed.”

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Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

As the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLS prepare to resume play in the near future, Major League Baseball still can't get out of its own way.

MLB reportedly rejected the Players Association's proposal Wednesday for a 114-game season in 2020 and apparently doesn't plan to make a counter-offer.

The league and the players have refused to budge on the issues dividing them: Players don't want to take an additional pay cut after agreeing to prorated salaries in March, while the owners are wary of extending the season too long due to the coronavirus pandemic and want players to agree to further reduced salaries to mitigate lost revenue.

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That stalemate has cost MLB valuable time, however, as the league doesn't appear close to beginning its 2020 regular season as the calendar turns to June.

So, who's to blame here? Lou Merloni believes it's everyone involved.

The former Boston Red Sox infielder ripped into both the league and the union Wednesday night during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston.

"Both sides suck, OK? That's the bottom line," Merloni said. "The Players Association comes back and says, 'Not 82 (games), we want 114' when they know that's the non-starter. The owners don't want to sit there and play until November. They're worried about the pandemic; they've got to get the playoffs in. And then the owners come back and say we're not even going to counter?

"Jesus, we're like a month into this thing. Can you string this thing out (any longer)? How about go in one room together and try to figure this out in a day or two?"

Compounding MLB's issue is that the NBA is expected to announce a return-to-play plan Thursday that would resume the 2019-20 season in late July. The MLS and NHL also have made headwinds toward resuming their seasons this summer -- which means baseball is wasting a much-needed opportunity to showcase itself as the only active pro sports league.

"I mean, you're running out of time and you're only screwing yourself. Even if baseball does come back, people have already said, 'I've had enough of you.' It's been like a month, a year, and you guys talk and bitch about this thing publicly. I don't give a crap anymore. I've got hockey, basketball, football is around the corner, hell, soccer is around the corner. I'm good.

"They don't even realize it! It's like they're in this bubble and they don't even realize what's going on around them right now. Figure this thing out: 70 games, 65, prorated (salaries), start playing some baseball, because your ass better be first coming back. If not, people are going to be done."

There's reportedly some optimism that the players and the union will resolve their differences and put a return plan in place. But with nearly one-third of the season already lost, the clock is ticking.

Check out Merloni's full comments in the video player above.

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

There's only one choice for best designated hitter in Red Sox history, but just in case there's any doubt, we'll quote broadcaster Dave O'Brien with the signature call from his WEEI days: "DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ!"

No sense in even pretending there's any suspense on this one.

What's fascinating about ranking the Red Sox DHs, however, is just how few of them have actually held down the position for any length of time over the years.

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Only nine players have made at least 200 appearances there with the Red Sox since the DH was introduced in 1973, and four of them — Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Manny Ramirez — have already appeared elsewhere in our outfield rankings.

That leaves five men to fill out the list, and about the only difficult omission is slugger Jose Canseco, who made 184 appearances between 1995 and 1996.

Click here for the Top 5 DHs in Red Sox history.