MLB will continue looking into Astros’ handling of incident, Rob Manfred says

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WASHINGTON — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that the league office would continue conversations with the Houston Astros regarding the incident last weekend that resulted in the termination of a member of the team’s front office.

Speaking before Game 3 of the World Series after a photo session with Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco, this season’s recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, Manfred declined to characterize the nature of those conversations.

“I will say that there are a variety of issues,” Manfred said. “I’m not going to narrow the statement. We’re going to continue to review the situation, have conversations with [Astros owner Jim] Crane. It’s one thing to comment and investigate for 24 hours on a specific incident.”

The incident in question came to light after a report was published earlier this week by Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein. According to the report, during the celebration in the Astros clubhouse after Houston clinched the American League Championship Series on Saturday, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of female reporters — including one wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet — and repeatedly yelled, “Thank God we got [Roberto] Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna!”

Last season, Osuna served a 75-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, stemming from an incident while he was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Astros initially called the report “misleading and completely irresponsible” and accused SI of trying to “fabricate a story where one does not exist.” Taubman later apologized for his language but said his comments were misinterpreted. After a league investigation into the allegations outlined in the report was completed, the Astros announced on Thursday that Taubman’s employment with the team had been terminated.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow met Friday with Apstein, who requested a retraction of the team’s initial statement. Luhnow acknowledged the request but had not yet issued a retraction.

Manfred declined to say whether more disciplinary actions might follow.

“I didn’t say that there is going to be further action, but there are things we want to talk to the Astros about, continuing to have those conversations and gather information,” Manfred said. “I think it was important that they recognize that they had made a mistake. They issued an apology and they dealt with the individual situation in a decisive way, and those are all positives.”

Manfred said the league would continue its inquiry into the incident and its fallout after the World Series concludes. The Washington Nationals lead the series 2-0 entering Game 3 at Nationals Park on Friday night. Manfred added that the league would address the matter publicly when the conversations he referenced are finished and any further decisions related to the matter are made.

Manfred emphasized that there was no timeline on the next phase of the inquiry, or even what the scope of the inquiry might be.

“I think we’ve had pretty good record of transparency when we make decisions,” Manfred said. “So I think when we get to the point when we have something more to say, it’ll be public. Again, I don’t want the expectation that this piece of it is going to be as quick as the last piece, because there is more to it.”

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