Carlos Correa rips Cody Bellinger, defends Jose Altuve in explosive interview

It didn’t take long for Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa to go from contrite to defensive. Just days after Correa spoke thoughtfully about the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, he reversed course and fired back at one of the Astros’ most outspoken critics.

Correa ripped Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger, defended Jose Altuve and revealed even more about the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme in an interview that will appear on MLB Network on Saturday night. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic previewed a portion of that interview early Saturday, which contains a number or bizarre and revealing quotes from Correa.

Here are some of the highlights:

Cody Bellinger doesn’t know what he’s talking about

Correa’s main target was Bellinger. On Friday, Bellinger tore into the Astros, saying the team stole a World Series from the Dodgers in 2017 and that Altuve stole an MVP from Aaron Judge that same year.

The 25-year-old Correa took issue with all of that. Correa pointed to the commissioner’s report and said Bellinger “either doesn’t know how to read, is really bad at reading comprehension, or is just not informed at all.” Correa added, “If you don’t know the facts, then you’ve got to shut the f— up.”

Jose Altuve is not a cheater

Correa then spent a large portion of the snippet defending Altuve. Correa claimed Altuve was against the trash can banging scheme in 2017. While Astros players did bang on the can when Altuve was up to bat, Correa says Altuve would get mad any time that happened.

“The few times that the trash can was banged was without his consent, and he would go inside the clubhouse and inside the dugout to whoever was banging the trash can and he would get pissed. He would get mad. He would say, ‘I don’t want this. I can’t hit like this. Don’t you do that to me.’ He played the game clean.”

Altuve wasn’t the only player on the team who didn’t want to use the trash can. Both Josh Reddick and Tony Kemp were opposed to it, according to Correa.

The bad tattoo defense

Correa vehemently denied any Astros used electronic buzzers to steal signs in 2019. He then offered up two explanations for why Altuve wouldn’t let his teammates rip off his jersey following his walk-off home run in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.

The first excuse is the same one Altuve repeated the night he hit the home run. Correa said Altuve’s wife wasn’t comfortable with players ripping off Altuve’s jersey.

The second reason is slightly more bizarre. Correa claimed Altuve was embarrassed by a really bad tattoo. No, seriously.

“The second reason — he doesn’t want me to talk about this, but I’m going to say it, is because he’s got an unfinished tattoo on his collarbone that honestly looked terrible. It was a bad tattoo, and he didn’t want nobody to see it. He didn’t want to show it at all.”

The Astros deserved to win the 2017 World Series

While Correa said the Astros deserve scorn for cheating throughout 2017, he pushed back on the idea that the team didn’t earn its 2017 World Series. Correa said the Astros didn’t have the Dodgers’ signs in the World Series. He noted that the Astros came through multiple times on the road in that series, suggesting Houston was unable to cheat away from Minute Maid Park. At least one report suggested the Astros were using the “Codebreaker” sign-stealing system during road games. Correa said the players had nothing to do with “Codebreaker,” instead blaming the front office.

The Astros definitely benefitted from stealing signs

Correa disagreed with comments made by Astros owner Jim Crane suggesting the team may not have benefitted from stealing signs. Correa said the Astros gained an advantage from the scheme. He said Crane likely didn’t understand because Crane doesn’t play baseball, and isn’t around the game as much as players or media members.

The past won’t define the 2020 Houston Astros

The interview snippet ends with Correa saying, “What happened in 2017 does not define us.” He expressed optimism that the Astros will win a lot of games in 2020, and that the team’s success wasn’t a product of the sign-stealing scandal.

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