The Red Sox ace would not be surprised if his fellow pitchers around the league engaged in some vigilante justice towards Astros players. David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

No Houston Astros players were disciplined by Major League Baseball for their role in the team’s sign-stealing scheme, but there’s a growing sense that opposing pitchers may try to punish them this upcoming season. While he didn’t say he would partake, Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale believes Astros hitters could face an increased risk of being plunked in 2020.

Sale was asked on Sunday about the possibility of pitchers throwing at Astros players, and he said players are “welcome to handle things how they want.” The left-hander insists he is strictly focused on trying to help the Red Sox win another World Series, but he wouldn’t be surprised if pitchers “do what they feel is necessary” when facing Houston.

For what it’s worth, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in his interview with ESPN’s Karl Ravich on Sunday that he will send a memo to the league discouraging retaliation against the Astros. Manfred also indicated that there could be harsher punishments than usual if those situations arise, which led to criticism from fans who believe Astros players should have been suspended for stealing signs.

We have already seen one pitcher admit he was considering throwing at Astros hitters if given the opportunity, and it seems like a virtually certainty that the issue will come up at some point.

Regardless of what happened, you would hate to see a player get seriously hurt. MLB has a responsibility to police that no matter how hypocritical fans or players may find it.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.


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Can you name the active MLB strikeout leaders?
3,068 / NYY
CC Sabathia
2,923 / HOU
Justin Verlander
2,638 / WAS
Max Scherzer
2,578 / HOU
Zack Greinke
2,522 / CHC
Cole Hamels
2,501 / SEA
Felix Hernandez
2,416 / LAD
Clayton Kershaw
2,319 / CHC
Jon Lester
2,007 / BOS
Chris Sale
1,979 / BOS
David Price
1,926 / NYM
Ervin Santana
1,804 / PIT
Francisco Liriano
1,795 / MIL
Gio Gonzalez
1,745 / SF
Madison Bumgarner
1,741 / STL
Adam Wainwright
1,648 / WAS
Anibal Sanchez
1,629 / WAS
Stephen Strasburg
1,616 / KC
Ian Kennedy
1,543 / SF
Johnny Cueto
1,517 / CLE
Oliver Perez
1,513 / ARZ
Ricky Nolasco
1,483 / DET
Edwin Jackson
1,471 / BOS
Rick Porcello
1,461 / CLE
Corey Kluber
1,458 / NYY
J.A. Happ
1,418 / SF
Jeff Samardzija

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