BOSTON (CBS) — Alex Cora will have some explaining to do this offseason. The Red Sox manager was reportedly a central figure in the Houston Astros’ elaborate sign-stealing operation in 2017, and it’s all but certain that Major League Baseball will chat with him about it in their investigation.

According to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic, Cora played a “key role” in Houston’s scheme, which was exposed earlier this week by the two writers. The team had a camera set up in center field at Minute Maid Park, aimed right at the opposing team’s catcher behind the plate, which was shown on a monitor set up between Houston’s dugout and clubhouse. Employees would watch the catcher’s signs throughout the game, figure out when a pitcher was about to throw a changeup, and pass that along to whoever was at bat by banging on a trash can.

Cora was the right hand man to Houston manager A.J. Hinch that season, serving as the team’s bench coach. While he may not have been the one bashing that trash can, there’s a pretty good chance he was heavily involved in the scheme. So MLB would like to chat with Cora, along with Hinch and new Mets manager Carlos Beltran, who was a DH/outfielder on the Astros that season.

Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Astros and sign stealing is virtually certain to include interviews with three current managers – the Astros’ AJ Hinch, the Red Sox’s Alex Cora and the Mets’ Carlos Beltran.

Hinch was the Astros’ manager in 2018, and sources said both Cora and Beltran played a key role in devising the sign-stealing system the team used that season.

Cora, of course, left the Astros after they won the title in 2017 to become skipper of the Red Sox, leading Boston to a World Series title in 2018. WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche reached out to the Boston skipper about the situation on Thursday, but Cora did not have a comment.

“I appreciate you reaching out, but given there is an MLB investigation into the 2017 Astros, it is best for me to not comment,” he said.

Cora already has his hands full this offseason following a rough 2019 campaign on the Boston bench, and will now he’ll have to defend his honor in one of baseball’s biggest cheating scandals.

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