Astros’ Carlos Correa claims Jose Altuve ‘never cheated’ in Cody Bellinger takedown

Astros shortstop Carlos Correa ripped Cody Bellinger a day after the Dodgers superstar outfielder joined several other players around the league in eviscerating the Astros for heading one of the darkest scandals in MLB history.

“Cody, you don’t know the facts,” Correa told The Athletic of Bellinger, who on Friday claimed second baseman Jose Altuve “stole an MVP” from Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge in 2017, when Judge finished second in AL MVP voting. “Nobody wants to talk about this, but I’m going to talk about this. Jose Altuve was the one guy that didn’t use the trash can.”

Correa was referring to the trash can that MLB confirmed members of the Astros banged on in 2017 in order to relay opponents’ signs — which were illegally obtained electronically during home games — to batters.

Correa, who many have labeled the most sincere and apologetic current Astro in the aftermath of the cheating saga, also went as far to say that Altuve was not part of the trash-can banging system.

“The few times that the trash can was banged was without his consent and he would go inside the clubhouse and inside the dugout to whoever was banging the trash can and he would get pissed,” Correa said of Altuve. “He would get mad. He would say, ‘I don’t want this. I can’t hit like this. Don’t you do that to me.’ He played the game clean.

“For him to go out there and defame Jose Altuve’s name like that, it doesn’t sit right with me. The man plays the game clean. That’s easy to find out. [Former Houston pitcher] Mike Fiers broke the story. You can go out and ask Mike Fiers, ‘Did Jose Altuve use the trash can? Did Jose Altuve cheat to win the MVP?’ Mike Fiers is going to tell you, straight up, he didn’t use it. He was the one player that didn’t use it. Josh Reddick, Tony Kemp, those guys they didn’t want the trash can at all. So when he sits there and talks about Altuve, it’s not facts.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred’s report on the cheating found that the Astros electronically stole signs during parts of 2018, too, but relayed them other ways. No players were implicated in the report, other than the since-retired Carlos Beltran, who was said to have helped lead the cheating efforts.

After the cheating scandal was first publicized by Oakland Athletics pitcher Fiers in November, a rumor spread that Altuve was wearing a buzzer under his jersey during the 2019 ALCS when he hit a walk-off home run to send Houston past the Yankees and to the World Series.

The gossip gained steam because Altuve was seen instructing his teammates not to rip off his uniform, as part of a popular celebratory tactic, when he rounded home plate that game.

MLB was not able to substantiate the rumor, which Altuve denied by saying his wife instructed him not to have his jersey ripped off.

“I don’t know what human hits a walk-off home run against Aroldis Chapman to send your team to the World Series and 1) has the thought to say, ‘Don’t rip my jersey off,’ but 2) go into the tunnel, change your shirt and then come out and do your interview. That makes no sense to me,” Bellinger said.

Correa countered, “So, 1) he didn’t want to take his shirt off because his wife had told my wife earlier in the year for me to not to do that. So he was telling me not to do it. And, No. 2) he had an unfinished tattoo that looked kind of bad, that he didn’t want people to see and people to talk about. That was the reason.

“…Altuve has never cheated,” Correa added.

Correa also shot down Bellinger’s claim that the Astros “stole” a championship ring from the Dodgers in 2017, saying that the signs in the World Series often change and “can’t be decoded.”

“If you don’t know the facts, then you’ve got to shut the f-k up,” Correa said.

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