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Morton regrets not trying to stop Astros from stealing signs

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FILE – In this Oct. 28, 2017, file photo, Houston Astros starting pitcher Charlie Morton throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning of Game 4 of baseball’s World Series in Houston. Two-time All-Star pitcher Morton says he regrets not doing anything to try to stop the Astros from illegally stealing signs and relaying information to their hitters during the team’s 2017 World Series championship season. Morton currently is the ace of the Tampa Bay Rays. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Two-time All-Star pitcher Charlie Morton says he regrets not doing anything to try to stop the Houston Astros from illegally stealing signs and relaying the information to their hitters during the team’s 2017 World Series championship season.

Morton, now the ace of the Tampa Bay Rays, was in his first season with the Astros that year and was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of both the AL Championship Series and World Series.

He also pitched for Houston in 2018 before signing a two-year contract in free agency and helping the Rays make the playoffs last season.

“I was aware of the banging. … Being in the dugout, you could hear it. I don’t know when it dawned on me, but you knew it was going on,” Morton said Saturday during Tampa Bay’s annual Fan Fest event at Tropicana Field.

“Personally, I regret not doing more to stop it. I don’t know what that would have entailed,” the 36-year-old right-hander said. “I think the actions would have been somewhat extreme to stop it. That’s a hypothetical.”

While conceding the cheating scandal “negatively impacted the game and people’s perception of the game,” as well as Houston’s lone World Series title, Morton said he doesn’t recall specifics about who did what wrong in 2017.

“From a personal standpoint, good people make mistakes. It’s as simple as that. I really don’t have anything else to say about it. I think mistakes were made and everybody is just trying to move on,” Morton said.

“I think it is one of those things where I know those guys,” the pitcher continued. “I went through a lot with those guys, so I feel like I have a little different perspective on who they are as opposed to someone that is just reading that the Astros cheated in 2017.”

Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for a year by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred after he found illicit use of electronics to steal signs during the Astros’ run to the 2017 World Series title and again in the 2018 season. Team owner Jim Crane then fired both Hinch and Luhnow.

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