Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel was issued a five-game suspension for the 2018 season Saturday by Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred for a racist gesture, but he will continue playing in the World Series.
Gurriel was in the dugout in the second inning after hitting one out of the park off Yu Darvish when he set his sights on Dodgers pitcher, who is from Japan. "I didn't mean to offend anybody", Gurriel said through his translator.
He made similar comments to ESPN, adding that he has "a lot of respect" for Japanese people and "never had anything against" Darvish.
The 33-year-old Gurriel is a native of Cuba who played for the Yokohama DeNA Baystars of the Japanese Central League in 2014.
For his part, Darvish called the gesture "disrespectful" after the game, and pointed out that "Houston has Asian fans and Japanese fans" too.
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"The Houston Astros were surprised and disappointed by the behavior displayed by Yuli Gurriel during last night's game", Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement.
As for his "chinito" remark, Gurriel reportedly said, "In Cuba and in other places, we call all Asian people Chinese". Gurriel will not miss any time during the World Series, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
Darvish played professionally in Japan from 2005 to 2011 before joining the Texas Rangers in 2012.
"First of all, I felt it was important that the suspension carried with it the penalty of lost salary", Manfred said. "On the contrary, he's always been one of the best pitchers".
The league has recently suspended players caught using slurs. If I offended him, I apologize. "He expressed remorse. I met with him today". Matt Joyce of the Oakland Athletics and Kevin Pillar of the Toronto Blue Jays each were suspended two games this season for using anti-gay slurs. He was traded to the Dodgers at this year's July 31 trade deadline. We're just going to have to learn from it.
Later, in a statement released on Twitter, the Iranian-Japanese player seemed more forgiving, adding that "no one is ideal", and while what Gurriel did "isn't right", he believes "we should put our effort into learning rather than to accuse him". "That's what I'm saying, so just learn from it and we've got to go forward, move forward".