MLB playoffs: Astros employee may have tried to steal signs from opposing dugout with in-game video, per reports

HOUSTON -- Major League Baseball is looking into whether the Houston Astros have had an employee use a small camera and/or cell phone to record the opposing dugout during the ALDS and ALCS, according to multiple reports. Metro Boston first reported a man was removed from a media area next to the Boston Red Sox dugout at Fenway Park in ALCS Game 1.

Here's are some more details from Metro Boston:

In the third inning of the first game of the series, security removed a man claiming to be an Astros employee from the media-credentialed area next to the Boston Red Sox dugout, according to multiple security sources who were on the scene at the time of the incident. The man had a small camera and was texting frequently, but did not have a media credential. 

Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com reports the Cleveland Indians filed a complaint with MLB alleging the Astros attempted to film inside their dugout during Game 3 of the ALCS. The Indians warned the Red Sox of the scheme prior to the ALCS, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports

MLB chief communications officer Pat Courtney told Metro Boston the league is "aware of the matter and it will be handled internally." The Astros, Red Sox and Indians have declined comment up to this point.

"I'm aware of something going on, but I haven't been briefed. I'm worried about the game," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch following ALCS Game 3 on Tuesday.

"Somebody mentioned to me right now. I think that's an MLB issue," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "They'll do what they have to do. But I just heard today."

According to Passan's report, the man in question is named Kyle McLaughlin, and while he is not listed as an Astros employee publicly, photos on social media show him with Astros owner Jim Crane and with a team ID badge. His Instagram page was deleted after these reports surfaced.

At least one other team, the Oakland Athletics, reached out to MLB to express concern the Astros were using electronic devices to steal signs earlier this year, reports say. The reports claim McLaughlin would read the opposing team's signs, pass along the information, and then personnel in the dugout would relay that information to the hitter with claps or hand signals.

Officially, MLB has no rules against sign stealing. The violation here would involve the technology and electronic devices used. Last season the Red Sox were fined after an investigation revealed the team used Apple Watches in the dugout as part of an elaborate sign stealing scheme. The New York Yankees filed a complaint with MLB that prompted that investigation.

An ESPN report indicates the Astros are expected to receive nothing more than a fine if they are found to be in violation of the league's electronic device rules. The use of electronics in the dugout and on the field are expected to be a hot topic during the league's offseason meetings.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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