Former St Louis Cardinals official jailed

A former scouting director for the St Louis Cardinals has been sentenced to 46 months in prison for hacking the computer network of the Houston Astros.

Chris Correa, 36, of St Louis, will also be required to serve a term of two years of supervised release following completion of the prison term and must pay $279,000 (£211,400) in restitution to the Astros, which federal officials said lost about $1.7m (£1.29m) due to the breach of its computer network.

Correa was fired by the Cardinals last year after his arrest. He pleaded guilty in January to five counts of unauthorised access of a protected computer. Each count carried a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and a $25,000 (£19,000) fine.

“We are grateful that the court agreed to our sentencing recommendation as it was based upon our evaluation of the seriousness of the crime and the actions of the defendant,” said US Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas. “Today, justice was done.”

A Major League Baseball spokesperson said commissioner Rob Manfred had asked for an investigation into Correa’s actions since the criminal case is over, while the Cardinals said they plan to cooperate with the MLB’s investigation.

Last year, there were reports the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department were probing the Cardinals for possibly breaking into the Astros’ proprietary database network.

St Louis personnel were suspected of hacking into the Astros’ system to undermine the work of Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow, who left the Cardinals to work for the Astros after the 2011 season.

Luhnow created the same type of computer system in Houston as he had in St Louis.

The Astros and the Cardinals, like many teams, measure and analyse in-game activities to look for advantages. Correa provided analytical support to the Cardinals’ baseball operations.

The Astros operated a private online database called “Ground Control” to house a wide variety of confidential data, including scouting reports, trade discussions, statistics and contract information, US officials said.

As part of his plea agreement, Correa previously admitted that from March 2013 through at least March 2014, he illicitly entered the database and email accounts of others to gain access to Astros’ proprietary information.