Sources: Red Sox were warned by Indians about Astros attempting to steal signs and information

HOUSTON – The Boston Red Sox were warned that a man credentialed by the Houston Astros might try to steal signs or information from their dugout after the Cleveland Indians caught him taking pictures of their dugout with a cellphone camera during Game 3 of the American League Division Series, sources with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo Sports.

A photograph obtained by Yahoo Sports showed a man named Kyle McLaughlin aiming a cell phone into Cleveland’s dugout during the Indians’ 11-3 loss that ended their season. McLaughlin was the same man caught taking pictures near the Red Sox’s dugout during Game 1 of the AL Championship Series, which was first reported by the Metro Times. McLaughlin was removed by security in Cleveland and Boston, sources said.

While McLaughlin is not listed publicly as an Astros employee, photographs on his Instagram account (which has since been deleted) showed him wearing an Astros ID badge as he posed for a picture in 2016 with Astros owner Jim Crane. In another photo, McLaughlin is standing next to a private plane with logos for the Astros and two companies owned by Crane, Crane Worldwide Logistics and Crane Capital Group. McLaughlin removed “Houston Astros” from his biography on his Instagram page Tuesday night.

It was the culmination of a series of events that cast aspersions on the defending World Series champions, who have been accused of cheating by at least one other organization this season, sources told Yahoo Sports. Major League Baseball, which was made aware of McLaughlin taking the photograph in the Indians’ dugout before the ALCS, declined comment. An Astros spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. McLaughlin did not respond to messages left on two social-media accounts.

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2018 ALCS: Boston Red Sox vs Houston Astros
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 17: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox catches the final out of the game during the ninth inning of game four of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros on October 17, 2018 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/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 17: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros reacts as he bats in the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 17, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/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)
Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts, right, pours sports drink on Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. after their 8-2 win over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of a baseball American League Championship Series on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16: Boston Red Sox third baseman Eduardo Nunez flips over after diving for a foul ball in the bottom of the first inning. The Houston Astros host the Boston Red Sox in Game Three of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX on Oct. 16, 2018. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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, MA - OCTOBER 14: David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after giving up a two run homer to Marwin Gonzalez #9 of the Houston Astros during the third inning of Game Two of Major League Baseball's American League Championship Series at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts on October 14, 2018. (Photo by Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 13: Lance McCullers Jr. #43 of the Houston Astros celebrates after retiring the side in the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game One of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 13, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
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)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 13: Josh Reddick #22 of the Houston Astros hits a solo home run during the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game One of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 13, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 14: Rick Porcello #22 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after retiring the side in the top of the eighth inning against the Houston Astros in Game Two of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Oct 14, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) pitches to Houston Astros catcher Evan Gattis (11) during the ninth inning in game two of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) slides into home and scores a run during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros in game two of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (4) checks on left fielder Marwin Gonzalez (9) after Gonzalez collided with the wall during the third inning against the Boston Red Sox in game two of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 14: Astros Marwin Gonzalez chases the ball that went along the wall on Jackie Bradley Jr., two run double in the third inning. Boston Red Sox hosted the Houston Astros in Game Two of ALCS at Fenway Park in Boston on Oct. 14, 2018. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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MLB significantly beefed up its security presence at Game 3 on Tuesday, according to a league source with knowledge of its staff, sending three people from its baseball-operations office and another six security personnel to monitor the game. The league stationed an employee in each of the teams’ video-review rooms, according to the source. The paranoia among teams, the source said, “is like the NFL these days. Every club thinks the other club is cheating.”

This is not the first investigation into the Astros’ attempts to gain competitive advantages this season, three sources told Yahoo Sports. During a late-August game against Oakland, A’s players noticed Astros players clapping in the dugout before pitches and believed they were relaying stolen signs to pitchers in the batter’s box, sources said. The A’s called the league, which said it would investigate the matter. It’s unclear what the result of the investigation was or whether it remains ongoing.

Two major league players said they have witnessed the Astros hitting a trash can in the dugout in recent years and believe it is a way to relay signals to hitters. The Los Angeles Dodgers also believed the Astros were stealing signs during the World Series last season, according to two sources.

MLB has attempted and failed to corroborate such accounts, the league source said. Other teams, the source said, have been accused of similar actions. The Red Sox were fined last season for using an Apple Watch in a sign-stealing scheme against the New York Yankees.

Teams around the league are perhaps more wary of the Astros than any team, fearful that their employment of cameras – they use high-speed models made by Edgertronic to help evaluate players, according to sources – allows them to steal signs. MLB has not punished the Astros for any illegal behavior, sources told Yahoo Sports.

When asked about the Metro Times report after Boston’s 8-2 victory to take a 2-1 lead in the ALCS, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said: “I’m aware of something going on, but I haven’t been briefed. I’m worried about the game.” Asked about McLaughlin being caught near their dugout, Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski told Yahoo Sports that “It’s in MLB’s hands now” and declined further comment.

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