Alex Cora is one of three major league baseball managers allegedly connected to an electronic sign-stealing operation with the Houston Astros in 2017, according to a report from The Athletic.

Alex Cora: ‘I have talked to MLB and I’ll leave it at that.’  Associated Press/Steve Nesius

Cora was a bench coach with the Astros in 2017, when they won the World Series, before leaving to become manager of the Boston Red Sox in 2018. Carlos Beltran, who is now the New York Mets’ manager, and Astros manager A.J. Hinch were the others named in the report.

According to the report late Wednesday, Cora “played a key role in devising the sign-stealing system the team used that season.” Stealing signs electronically is a violation of major-league rules.

In an appearance on WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe” on Thursday morning, Cora didn’t get into much detail when asked about his involvement.

“I appreciate the question,” Cora said. “… I have talked to MLB and I’ll leave it at that.”

The Athletic first reported the Astros’ sign-stealing operation on Tuesday. Former pitcher Mike Fiers revealed the Astros stole signs with the help of a camera positioned in the outfield.

 

YANKEES: Just four years ago, Matt Blake was varsity pitching coach at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, about 20 miles outside of Boston. Next spring, the 34-year-old will be guiding the high-priced arms of the New York Yankees.

“The biggest thing is just finding out where the player is at and what it is that makes him tick,” Blake said after his hiring as Yankees pitching coach was formally announced. “Across different ages or nationalities and cultures, you got to get to the root of what is it that they are seeking for help and then bring it to the edge of their learning zone, if you will.”

Blake replaced Larry Rothschild, who was fired after nine seasons and got hired as pitching coach of the San Diego Padres.

BRAVES: The Atlanta Braves made another move to bolster their shaky bullpen, signing left-hander reliever Will Smith to a three-year, $40 million contract.

The free-agent deal includes a $13 million option for the 2023 season, with a $1 million buyout.

The 30-year-old Smith went 6-0 with a 2.76 ERA and a career-best 34 saves for the San Francisco Giants this past season. He made the All-Star team for the first time.

OFFERS: Pitcher Jake Odorizzi accepted a $17.8 million qualifying offer to stay with the Minnesota Twins and first baseman Jose Abreu took the same amount to remain with the Chicago White Sox.

Just 10 free agents received the offers on Nov. 4, and their former teams will receive draft-pick compensation if they sign elsewhere before the amateur draft in June. Players who did not accept included pitchers Gerrit Cole (Houston), Stephen Strasburg (Washington), Zack Wheeler (New York Mets) and Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco) along with third basemen Anthony Rendon (Washington) and Josh Donaldson (Atlanta) and outfielder Marcell Ozuna (St. Louis).

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