MLB to speak with Astros over which makes Taubman decision

Sports

MLB commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. talks to the media before Game 2 of the baseball World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON (AP) — Major League Baseball will speak with the Astros to determine whether the commissioner’s office or the club will handle any decision following an investigation into the conduct of Houston assistant general manager Brandon Taubman.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said before World Series Game 2 on Wednesday that MLB investigators were at work in their probe.

“I think that there will be a conversation with the club at the end of the investigation and as is often the case, we’ll make a decision working with the club as to how who should handle it, as opposed to exactly what the outcome is,” Manfred said. “At the end of the day, he is an Astros employee.”

Taubman has apologized for using language that was “unprofessional and inappropriate” in the Houston clubhouse following the Astros’ pennant-winning victory over the New York Yankees last weekend. Sports Illustrated reported he repeatedly yelled toward a group of female reporters about closer Roberto Osuna, who was suspended for 75 games last year for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy before being traded from Toronto to the Astros.

Taubman shouted “Thank God we got Osuna!” according to SI, which said he made similar remarks several times, punctuating them with a profanity.

Manfred wasn’t sure how long the investigation will need.

“You want to make sure you get all the facts,” he said. “You want to be as thorough as you possibly can, understand the whole situation. But once you get there, you want to get it behind you.”

Manfred said what occurred in the clubhouse was of more concern to him than the Astros’ response, which was initially to call the SI report “misleading and completely irresponsible.” The team said SI had tried to “fabricate a story where one does not exist” and maintained Taubman’s comments weren’t directed at reporters.

“I’m really concerned at this point about the underlying substance of the situation and what the atmosphere was, how it came to be,” Manfred said. “We pride ourselves on providing an inclusive, harassment free environment in all of the various aspects of our business. I think it’s a core value for baseball. And I think that we have to be tremendously concerned whenever we have an incident that attracts this much attention.”

Astros manager AJ Hinch said Tuesday that “we all need to be better across the board, in the industry” and repeated his concern before Game 2.

“I feel responsible for the clubhouse. I feel responsible for everything that goes on down here,” Hinch said. “I consider myself a leader, so I felt like it was important for me to be visible and to give you my thoughts on a very important topic surrounding our clubhouse. I cherish this place. I cherish our players and everything that goes on. I was just being the manager of the club here down here in the clubhouse.”

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