- Fox, via ESPN
- Yuli Gurriel hit a huge home run early in Game 3 of the World Series off of Yu Darvish. Back in the dugout, Gurriel was caught on camera making a gesture that some interpreted as a “slant eyes.” The commissioner announced on Saturday Gurriel will be suspended for five games next season.
Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel has been suspended without pay for five games next season for making a racist gesture at Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish during the World Series.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the penalty Saturday, a day after Gurriel’s gesture during Game 3. Manfred added that he didn’t believe it would be fair to penalize the rest of the Astros by suspending Gurriel during the World Series, though he acknowledged that some may feel otherwise.
Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement that the team supports the disciplinary action against Gurriel, and that Gurriel is “extremely remorseful for his actions” and has apologized.
“The Houston Astros were surprised and disappointed by the behavior displayed by Yuli Gurriel during last night’s game,” Luhnow said. “The Astros and Major League Baseball pride ourselves on the diversity of our sport and in showing great respect to all cultures represented by our players, front office staff, fans and members of the media.”
The Houston Astros took a 2-1 lead in the World Series thanks in large part to a home run from first baseman Yuli Gurriel. Gurriel led off the second inning with a huge home run off of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish, giving the Astros a 1-0 lead.
Back in the dugout, MLB’s international feed focused on Gurriel when he appeared to mock Darvish, who is half Japanese and half Iranian, with what looked like a “slant eyes” gesture.
Here is the video, via ESPN:
Gurriel apologized after the game.
“I did not mean it to be offensive at any point,” Gurriel said through an interpreter. “Quite the opposite. I have always had a lot of respect [for Japanese people]. … I’ve never had anything against Darvish. For me, he’s always been one of the best pitchers. I never had any luck against him. If I offended him, I apologize. It was not my intention.”
Gurriel, who is Cuban, also admitted to using the term “chinito” while making the gesture, noting that it is a common term used in Cuba to refer to people of Asian descent. The word literally translates to “little Chinese boy.” Gurriel acknowledged that the term is considered offensive in Japan.
According to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, Major League Baseball officials will interview Gurriel about the gesture and will “consider discipline.” Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times says Gurriel is expected to meet with Commissioner Rob Manfred on Saturday and that he will then decide on any discipline.
After the game, Astros manager A.J. Hinch was asked about the gesture and said Gurriel is “remorseful” and will issue a statement.
“I am aware of it,” Hinch said. “The game just ended. I’ve barely been briefed on it. I think he’s going to have a statement. I know he is a remorseful, but other than that, I don’t know a lot.”
Darvish was asked about the gesture and called it “disrespectful,” but also seemed to be forgiving.
“[It was] disrespectful,” Darvish said. “He made a mistake. He’ll learn from it. We’re all human beings.”
Gurriel did play in Japan during the 2014 season.
Michelle Mark and the Associated Press contributed reporting.