Astros owner's court filing says MLB 'exonerated me' from sign-stealing
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Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is fighting back against a lawsuit filed against the team and himself by former major-league pitcher Mike Bolsinger.

In a legal statement filed to court on Monday and obtained by Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, Crane wrote he should not be named as a defendant in Bolsinger's suit because he was "exonerated" by Major League Baseball during its investigation into the Astros' illegal sign-stealing. Based on that, Crane is contending he should not be named in the suit as an individual.

"I was not involved in any alleged rules violations by the Astros," Crane wrote, according to Kaplan. "Major League Baseball conducted an investigation into potential rules violations by the Astros. That report explicitly exonerated me and stated that I was unaware of and had no involvement in any rules violations by the Astros."

The lawsuit in question was filed in February. Bolsinger hasn't pitched in the majors since Aug. 4, 2017, when, as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, he allowed four runs on four hits in 1/3 of an inning in Houston. His lawsuit contends that their cheating in 2017 - and specifically in that game - effectively ended his MLB career.

The Astros used a system that included banging on trash cans to alert hitters what pitch was coming. The website, created by an Astros fan, found 23 instances of trash-can banging during Bolsinger's start in Houston.

The suit, which was filed in a Los Angeles court, asks for unspecified damages for Bolsinger, while also calling on the Astros to forfeit their $31-million playoff bonuses.

MLB's investigation found the Astros guilty of cheating during their World Series-winning season of 2017, and commissioner Rob Manfred suspended then-manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one year, while Crane was not punished. Bolsinger's lawyer, Ben Meiselas, told Kaplan he disagreed with the owner's claim of absolution.

Crane's statement was a part of a series of contentions against the lawsuit filed in California court on Monday. Both he and the Astros are seeking to have Bolsinger's suit moved from California to Texas, or for it to be dismissed outright, according to Kaplan. The team's separate motion to dismiss the lawsuit characterized Bolsinger's desire to donate the $31 million to Los Angeles charities as "pandering."

Bolsinger's lawyers recently served Crane a deposition notice for June 1, according to Kaplan.

Astros owner's court filing says MLB 'exonerated me' from sign-stealing
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