MLB

Houston manager Dusty Baker asks MLB to protect Astros from ‘premeditated’ beanballs

It's been 17 days since the Houston Astros introduced Dusty Baker as their new manager, and he's had to already defend the team's sign-stealing scandal that has dominated the conversation during the start of spring training.

Now, he's beseeching Major League Baseball to prevent pitchers from throwing at Astros hitters as a form of retaliation for electronically decoding and stealing signs in real time. 

With the threats becoming less veiled, the 70-year-old Baker found it necessary to speak up and begin protecting his new players.

"I'm depending on the league to try to put a stop to this seemingly premeditated retaliation that I'm hearing about," Baker told reporters Saturday morning, per ESPN. "And in most instances in life, you get kind of reprimanded when you have premeditated anything. I'm just hoping that the league puts a stop to this before somebody gets hurt."

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker looks over his team during the morning spring training workout. (Photo: Jim Rassol, USA TODAY Sports)

As camps have opened in Arizona and Florida this week, player after player have ripped the Astros for not only cheating, but the initial lack of sincerity in their apologies.

Los Angeles Angels lefty Andrew Heaney laced into an expletive-filled tirade, as did the Cincinnati Reds' Trevor Bauer. Los Angeles Dodgers righty Ross Stripling said had he been traded to the Angels he probably would have thrown at Astros players. Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood said "someone will take it into their own hands." 

Chicago Cubs star third baseman called their actions a "disgrace" and reigning 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger Dodgers said Houston "stole" the 2017 World Series from them. 

Two-time Cy Young award winner and Astros right-hander Justin Verlander told reporters retaliating in that manner is archaic. 

"The game has changed," Verlander said. "I think the commissioner has made it very clear in the past few seasons that throwing a baseball at somebody isn't an appropriate form of retaliation in the game anymore. The problem is knowing if it's on purpose or not. But I guess when you come out and say I'm going to do it on purpose, you know."

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