Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred defended his punishment of the Houston Astros for sign stealing in 2017 and said Major League Baseball will institute new rules to police the use of technology before the 2020 season.

In a wide-ranging interview with ESPN's Karl Ravech, Manfred explained why he didn't punish any Astros players for their roles in the scandal, which involved illegal use of technology to decipher their opponents' signs and relay them to Houston batters in real time.

"Yeah, I understand. I understand people's desire to have the players pay a price for what went on here," Manfred said. "I think if you watch the players, watch their faces when they have to deal with this issue publicly, they have paid a price. To think they're skipping down the road into spring training, happy, that's just a mischaracterization of where we are."

MLB announced its discipline of the Astros last month, suspending general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for the entire 2020 season while stripping the organization of four draft picks and levying a $5 million fine.

But none of Houston's players was suspended or fined, and Manfred had previously announced that MLB had no plans to strip the Astros of their 2017 World Series title -- decisions that have drawn widespread criticism from the baseball community, including players from other teams.

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