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Justin Verlander responds after Astros block Detroit Free Press from media session

Chris Thomas, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Baseball

The Houston Astros blocked a Detroit Free Press reporter from attending Justin Verlander's postgame media session on Wednesday night, violating Baseball Writers' Association of America protocol and the MLB collective bargaining agreement.

The Astros blocked Free Press writer Anthony Fenech at Verlander's request, according to Gene Dias, Astros vice president of communications. Dias said Verlander was "adamant" that he would not speak to any credentialed media while Fenech was present.

Fenech has been the Tigers beat writer for the Free Press since 2015.

On Thursday, Verlander tweeted that the block stemmed from "his unethical behavior in the past." Verlander did not mention Fenech by name. It wasn't immediately clear what Verlander was referring to.

"Blocking a working reporter from doing his job is unprofessional, disappointing and intolerable," Free Press executive editor Peter Bhatia said Wednesday. "We will be protesting to MLB and the Astros."

Verlander pitched a complete game Wednesday in Houston, allowing two home runs in a 2-1 loss to the Tigers. The game ended at 9:22 p.m.

 

At 9:35 p.m., the Astros opened their clubhouse to credentialed media in compliance with MLB rules. As other media members entered the clubhouse, Fenech, who has a BBWAA-issued credential, was blocked from entering by three Astros security officials.

When asked for the reason, one security official, Roy Pippin Jr., who was wearing a team-authorized badge, said he was told by Dias not to allow Fenech inside the clubhouse.

"I'll come and get him when he's ready to come in," Pippin Jr., speaking for Dias, told the reporter.

Fenech contacted Mike Teevan, MLB vice president of communications, who said he would immediately reach out to Dias regarding the issue. Dias eventually gave Fenech access to the clubhouse at 9:41 p.m., after Verlander's media session had ended.

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