Major League Baseball may have a cheating controversy on its hands.
During Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, a man who claimed to be an employee of the Houston Astros was spotted with a small camera and "texting frequently" beside the Boston Red Sox dugout, Metro Boston's Danny Picard reported on Tuesday. The man was eventually removed from the media area by Fenway Park security but was not ejected from the stadium, Picard added.
Sources also told Picard that the Red Sox had been cautioned about the man in question following the Astros' ALDS win over the Cleveland Indians.
Cleveland has reportedly filed a complaint with MLB that the Astros were attempting to film inside the Indians dugout during Game 3 of the ALDS at Progressive Field, according to Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com. Additionally, Mark Schwab of Cleveland 19 News reported that MLB security removed multiple Astros employees from Progressive Field's camera area during Game 3.
It was the Indians who reportedly alerted the Red Sox to the Astros employee, according to Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston.
MLB has apparently already looked into the situation involving the Red Sox, and it found that the Astros employee was watching the Red Sox to see if they were improperly using a video monitor during Game 1, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
The league does not consider this to be a major issue, Sherman added, and Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski appears to share that view.
"(The Astros employee) was not the reason we lost Game 1," Dombrowski said Tuesday, according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. "I'm not concerned."
In a statement to Metro Boston, MLB's chief communications officer Pat Courtney said, "We are aware of the matter and it will be handled internally." The league repeated Courtney's statement verbatim on Tuesday night, per Speier.
Although the Astros didn't officially comment, manager A.J. Hinch told Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle, "I'm aware of something going on (regarding possible sign-stealing) but I haven't been briefed. I'm worried about the game."
Red Sox manager Alex Cora - who served as Hinch's bench coach in Houston last year - was asked Tuesday if he believed the Astros were stealing signs. Cora responded, "No, I don't," according to ASAP Sports.
Houston won Game 1 by a score of 7-2, though the Red Sox took the next two games and now lead the ALCS two games to one.