Yankees ace Gerrit Cole said last Thursday that he didn't know about his former Astros team's electronic sign stealing, and he doubled down on his initial comments during Wednesday's media availability.
More than one week into Spring Training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, the Astros' scandal has dominated the discussion around the Yankees.
Cole, who played for Houston from 2018-19 before signing a nine-year contract worth $324 million with New York, was asked about the strong comments made in recent days by his new Yankees teammates regarding the Astros' cheating.
"I mean, I just refer back to what I said the other day," Cole said, according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. "George asked me yesterday about players specifically and I'll just stick to what I said which is, everybody's entitled to their opinion. It's their own opinion. And people handle this the way they want to handle it.
"And, you know ... we're all grown guys around here. And, you know, I certainly am not going to tell somebody how to think, so I don't see it as an issue. I am not personally offended by it. And so hopefully that's the last question that I'll have to answer about it."
MLB's investigative report Jan. 13 found that the Astros' electronic sign-stealing method was used throughout the 2017 regular season and postseason, when Houston beat the Yankees in the ALCS and won the World Series.
In the report, the Astros discontinued the trash can-banging scheme, but continued to decode signs with using live center field camera, for at least part of the 2018 season. Houston traded Jan. 13, 2018, for Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cole, who was a two-time All-Star RHP in two years with the Astros from 2018-19, going 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA and 602 strikeouts to 112 walks in 412 innings pitched over 65 starts, told the Yankees upon signing that he hadn't known what his former teammates were doing.
Just a pitcher and his catcher pic.twitter.com/7HH22Krmxr- Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) February 19, 2020
"No I wasn't," Cole said last Thursday. "I wish I could elaborate, but no I wasn't."
As Cole's new teammates have reported to Spring Training, with position players officially joining Monday, star OFs Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are among those who have been candid and outspoken about the Astros.
"Yeah, I just don't think it holds any value," Judge said Tuesday when asked if the Astros should be stripped of the 2017 World Series. "You cheated, you didn't earn it. That's how I feel: it wasn't earned."
"No, I don't believe them," Torres said. "If you cheated in 2017 and won, why wouldn't you cheat the next year and the next year, too?"