Collin McHugh says Houston Astros pitchers should have stood up to cheating

Collin McHugh pitched just 12 times for the 2017 Houston Astros, which went on to win the World Series while illegally and electronically stealing opponents' signs. 

The right-hander spent six seasons with the organization and helped him emerge as a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2014 and into Cy Young consideration the next year. 

McHugh signed a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, and Friday he answered questions about his time with the organization and said he regretted not doing more to stop the cheating. 

"You've got to be willing to stick up for what you believe in and what you believe is right and what you believe is wrong," McHugh told reporters Friday, per ESPN. "And I think a lot of the guys on that team, including myself, are looking back now and wishing we had been as brave in the moment as we thought we were beforehand."

Collin McHugh agreed to a $600,000, one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. (Photo: Jim Mone, AP)

For their transgressions, MLB levied a $5 million fine and suspended A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, both of whom were ultimately fired, and took away draft picks. 

When camps for spring training opened last month, it was open season for the rest of the league. Players who felt the team didn't properly express an adequate level of remorse panned them. The league, for what some perceived as a lenient punishment, was also widely criticized.

"To put myself in the shoes of the guys who pitched against us in 2017 and to know that our hitters made that job that much harder that year — it's hard to swallow," McHugh said. "And I feel for them and I understand the anger and I understand when people are mad and pissed off. I get it. I've been there. I know what it feels like to be out there and feel like a team has your signs. It's a lonely place."

McHugh let on that Astros pitchers believed other teams were stealing their signs. 

"Sign stealing is universally across the board bad for pitchers. And we know that. It made our jobs harder," McHugh said. "And we truly believed — or we were made to believe — that it was happening to us, too. And we don't know if that was true or not, but that's not justification for doing anything. Just because you think they're doing it is not justification for doing something you know is not right.

"Looking back, I don't know what we could have done as pitchers. It wasn't really our territory. Maybe we could've gotten together and somehow tried to stop it. Yeah, it was tough watching that. You feel for guys out there who are working their tails off whether they're on your team or against you. I love seeing good pitching and it took some really good pitching that year to beat us."

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