MLB announces Astros won't be punished in postseason spying controversy

The Houston Astros won’t face any league discipline related to accusations of postseason spying, Major League Baseball announced Wednesday before Houston met the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

The league’s statement starts by saying a number of teams expressed concerns about sign-stealing and inappropriate use of video equipment this postseason, then continues to say their investigation found the Astros were making sure other teams weren’t cheating. The league says it warned the rest of the postseason teams not do this anymore and that the matter is closed.

Here’s the statement in full:

“Before the Postseason began, a number of Clubs called the Commissioner’s Office about sign stealing and the inappropriate use of video equipment.  The concerns expressed related to a number of Clubs, not any one specific Club.  In response to these calls, the Commissioner’s Office reinforced the existing rules with all playoff Clubs and undertook proactive measures, including instituting a new prohibition on the use of certain in-stadium cameras, increasing the presence of operations and security personnel from Major League Baseball at all Postseason games and instituting a program of monitoring Club video rooms.

With respect to both incidents regarding a Houston Astros employee, security identified an issue, addressed it and turned the matter over to the Department of Investigations.  A thorough investigation concluded that an Astros employee was monitoring the field to ensure that the opposing Club was not violating any rules.  All Clubs remaining in the playoffs have been notified to refrain from these types of efforts and to direct complaints about any in-stadium rules violations to MLB staff for investigation and resolution.  We consider the matter closed.”

During Game 4 of the ALCS, a story broke saying the Astros had a man in the camera well during their series against the Cleveland Indians and again against the Red Sox. He was credentialed by the Astros, but not as a member of the media. He was spotted taking pictures of the opposing dugout and texting on his phone. The man was identified by Yahoo Sports as Kyle McLaughlin. He appears to have close ties to the Astros organization, as our own Jeff Passan reported.

McLaughlin was removed by security in Cleveland for taking pictures into their dugout. The Indians warned the Red Sox about McLaughlin, who then turned up in Boston for the ALCS. He was also removed by security there.

This marks the next step in an ongoing escalation of information-stealing in baseball the past few years. The St. Louis Cardinals were busted for hacking into an Astros databasein the most famous case, which led to a Cardinals exec going to jail. Last year, the Red Sox were fined after MLB one of their trainers had used an Apple Watch in a sign-stealing scheme.

What we’ve learned from those previous cases is that MLB won’t punish the act of sign-stealing. If it’s if it’s done on the field, the league considers that part of the game. Where it often takes issue is when teams use off-the-field technology to aid those efforts.

Related: See the best photos from the playoffs so far: 

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The best photos from the 2018 MLB Postseason
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The best photos from the 2018 MLB Postseason
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Christian Vazquez #7 jumps into the arms of Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox to celebrate their 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five to win the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 23: The dugout reacts as Eduardo Nunez #36 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his three-run home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game One of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 23: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox steals second base during the first inning against Manny Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgersin Game One of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 17: A fan interferes with Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox as he attempts to catch a ball hit by Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros (not pictured) in the first inning during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 17, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: Craig Kimbrel #46 and Christian Vazquez #7 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate and hug after defeating the Houston Astros in Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 17: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is tagged out at third base by Orlando Arcia #3 of the Milwaukee Brewers during the sixth inning in Game Five of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16: Tony Kemp #18 of the Houston Astros catches a deep fly ball against the left field wall in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 16, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 17: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after hitting a RBI single in the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Five of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun celebrates after scoring on a ball hit by Jesus Aguilar during the first inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw warms up before Game 5 of the National League Championship Series baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Milwaukee Brewers' Orlando Arcia scores from first on a double by Domingo Santana during the fifth inning of Game 4 of the National League Championship Series baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig (66) breaks a bat after striking out during the seventh inning of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Milwaukee Brewers' Orlando Arcia celebrates his home run with third base coach Ed Sedar during the fifth inning of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Houston Astros center fielder George Springer, right, and shortstop Carlos Correa celebrate their win against the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of a baseball American League Championship Series on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Boston. The Astros won 7-2. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston Astros' Carlos Correa celebrates after his RBI-single against the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning in Game 1 of a baseball American League Championship Series on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello celebrates after the last out in the top of the eighth inning in Game 2 of a baseball American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Los Angeles Dodgers' Enrique Hernandez makes a play on a ball hit by Milwaukee Brewers' Lorenzo Cain during the first inning of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series baseball game Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Enrique Hernandez (14) fields a grounder by Milwaukee Brewers' Lorenzo Cain during the first inning of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series baseball game Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 8: Brock Holt #12 of the Boston Red Sox is doused with Gatorade after hitting for the cycle after game three of the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees on October 8, 2018 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu walks off the field at the end of the fourth inning of Game 1 of the National League Divisional Series baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Oct 9, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Steve Pearce (25) reaches for the ball to get the last out on New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) in game four of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki (24) celebrates the last out against Los Angeles Dodgers Brian Dozier after the ninth inning of Game 3 of MLB baseball's National League Division Series, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves won 6-5. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Atlanta Braves left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) celebrates the team's victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers after the ninth inning in Game 3 of MLB baseball's National League Division Series, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves won 6-5. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Milwaukee Brewers' Erik Kratz reacts after scoring on a wild pitch thrown by Colorado Rockies reliever Scott Oberg in the sixth inning of Game 3 of a baseball National League Division Series, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
Boston Red Sox's Christian Vazquez reacts as he rounds first base after connecting for a solo home run against the New York Yankees during the fourth inning of Game 4 of baseball's American League Division Series, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) and third baseman Eduardo Nunez celebrate after the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 4-3 in Game 4 of baseball's American League Division Series, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Houston Astros' Alex Bregman (2) scores on teammate Marwin Gonzalez's hit as Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes, left, fields a throw during the sixth inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, right, scores past the tag of Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes, left, during the sixth inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Los Angeles Dodgers' Manny Machado celebrates his two-run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of Game 2 of a baseball National League Division Series on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 05: Pitcher Jeremy Jeffress #32 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates the last out of Game Two of the National League Division Series against the Colorado Rockies at Miller Park on October 5, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers won the game with a score of 4-0 and lead the series 2-0. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 05: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox jumps to avoid Luke Voit #45 of the New York Yankees while turing the double play in the second inning of Game One of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 5, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 05: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates after retiring the side in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves during Game Two of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 05: Carlos Correa #1 and George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros celebrate after defeating the Cleveland Indians 7-2 in Game One of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on October 5, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians reacts after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 07: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during Game Three of the National League Division Series at SunTrust Park on October 7, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 06: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros slides safely past the tag from Yan Gomes #7 of the Cleveland Indians to score a run in the sixth inning of Game Two of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on October 6, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 02: Scott Oberg #45 and Tony Wolters #14 of the Colorado Rockies celebrate defeating the Chicago Cubs 2-1 in thirteen innings to win the National League Wild Card Game at Wrigley Field on October 2, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 04: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to third base during the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves during Game One of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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