Verlander has reporter barred from entering Astros clubhouse
Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander walks off the mound after giving up a home run to Detroit Tigers' John Hicks (55) during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, August 22, 2019 4:31PM EDT
HOUSTON -- A reporter for the Detroit Free Press was denied access to the Houston Astros clubhouse on Wednesday night until Justin Verlander finished his postgame media session.
According to the Free Press, Astros vice-president of communications Gene Dias said beat writer Anthony Fenech was blocked at the request of Verlander. According to Dias, Verlander said he would not speak to any credentialed media while Fenech was present.
The incident came after Verlander, who played for the Detroit Tigers for 13 seasons, pitched a two-hitter as the Astros lost 2-1.
The Astros opened their clubhouse at 9:35 p.m. and as the rest of the assembled media was allowed to enter the clubhouse, Fenech, who has a credential issued by the Baseball Writers' Association of America was stopped by three Astros security officials.
Fenech contacted MLB vice-president of communications Mike Teevan and was allowed into the clubhouse at 9:41 p.m., after Verlander had concluded his media session. Fenech approached Verlander and the pitcher said: "I'm not answering your questions."
Verlander addressed the situation on Twitter on Thursday, accusing Fenech of unspecified "unethical behaviour in the past."
BWAA President Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic said the organization was "alarmed" by the incident.
"This action by the Astros violated the MLB club-media regulations, which are laid out in the collective bargaining agreement, and the BBWAA expects MLB to respond accordingly and promptly," he said Thursday.
Dias didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
"Per our Club-Media Regulations, the reporter should have been allowed to enter the clubhouse postgame at the same time as the other members of the media," MLB's Teevan said in a statement. "We have communicated this to the Astros."