ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Houston Astros happened to be in town when the St. Louis Cardinals paraded out one of their just-signed first-round draft picks to take some cuts in the batting cage and do interviews.
It was a bit surreal, given long-time speculation that the investigation into the Cardinals’ hacking of the Astros’ player database might cost them draft picks, along with a fine. St. Louis had three first-rounders this year.
Both teams took it as a coincidence.
“All around baseball there are first-round draft picks being introduced,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told the Associated Press on Wednesday before the conclusion of the two-game interleague series. “It’s that time of the year.”
New Cardinals scouting director Randy Flores, asked whether it was strange to have the Astros in town while 33rd overall pick Dylan Carlson was getting his first look at Busch Stadium, said, “No, I don’t think so.”
It’s unclear when investigations by the FBI will conclude. Last July, the Cardinals fired scouting director Chris Correa, who awaits sentencing after pleading guilty in federal court in January to five counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer.
Luhnow was scouting director in St. Louis before becoming Astros general manager in 2011.
“It’s all going to be resolved,” Luhnow said, “but I’m not sure when.”
Under the circumstances, relations appear to be stable.
“My relationship with Houston and specifically with Jeff Luhnow has been professional,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. “I’m sure we’re both looking forward to a resolution.”
Luhnow encounters members of the St. Louis front office at GM meetings, the Winter Meetings and spring training and recalled a nice chat with assistant general manager Michael Girsch at a spring training game in Florida.
He credits the Cardinals with “keeping the pipeline running” and being a model organization “from a baseball standpoint.”
“So obviously, you spend eight seasons with a group of folks, you stay connected to them in some ways,” Luhnow said. “I’ve followed the Cardinals with keen interest because it’s my former club and there are a lot of the players I was involved with scouting, signing and developing.”
Major League Baseball is awaiting a resolution before acting. The Cardinals have basically been mum since chairman Bill DeWitt addressed the case at the annual Winter Warmup in January, saying it was far too early to gauge potential punishment that could be levied.
Correa was originally to be sentenced on April 11, the date of the home opener, but it’s been twice postponed since then and now has been set for July 5 in Houston. The Cardinals have maintained that Correa’s actions were atypical for the organization.
The Astros swept a two-game series in the first meeting between the teams since 2013. Both teams were off Thursday before the Cardinals, the three-time defending NL Central champions, opened a weekend series against the Texas Rangers and the Astros come home to face the Cincinnati Reds.