Yuli Gurriel suspended for 5 games next season for racist gesture

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Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel is facing possible punishment after making a racist gesture during the World Series. (KABC)

Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel has been suspended for five games next season as punishment after making a racist gesture to Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish during the World Series.

The MLB tweeted Gurriel will be suspended without pay in the first five games of the 2018 regular season for inappropriate actions during Friday night's game.



Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he didn't think it would be fair to penalize the rest of the Astros by suspending Gurriel during the World Series. Manfred said he understood other people might take a different view.

MORE: Astros' Gurriel makes racist gesture mocking Dodgers pitcher Darvish

Astros General Manger Jeff Luhnow released a statement regarding the punishment, saying the team was surprised by Gurriel's behavior and supports the MLB's decision.

"Yuli has always demonstrated respectful behavior and is extremely remorseful for his actions. Appropriately, Yuli has apologized for his gesture. He had no intention of offending anyone, but now recognizes the perceived offensiveness of his actions... The Astros will donate Yuli's salary for these five games in equal parts to the Astros Foundation and to a charity directly supporting diversity efforts," the statement read in part.

Gurriel on Friday said he didn't intend to offend Darvish when he pulled on the corners of his eyes after homering against him during Houston's 5-3 win in Game 3.



"I didn't try to offend nobody," Gurriel said in Spanish through a translator. "I was commenting to my family that I didn't have any luck against Japanese pitchers here in the United States."

Gurriel, a 33-year-old from Cuba, made the gesture shortly after homering to start Houston's four-run second inning. While sitting in the dugout, Gurriel put his fingers to the side of his eyes and said "chinito" - a derogatory Spanish term that translates literally to "little Chinese."

Darvish was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Iranian father.

Gurriel said the derogatory term is used commonly in Cuba to refer to Asian people. He said he knows the Japanese are offended by it because he played in Japan in 2014.

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Yuli Gurriel addresses controversial gesture during Game 3 of the World Series.


"In the moment, I didn't want to offend him or nobody in Japan because I have a lot of respect for them and I played in Japan," he said, adding that, "I didn't mean to do it."

Darvish played professionally in Japan from 2005-11 before joining the Texas Rangers in 2012. He was traded to the Dodgers at this year's July 31 trade deadline. He was angry about what happened.

"Acting like that, you just disrespect all the people around the world," he said in Japanese through a translator.

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Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish speaks about a racist gesture made by the Astros' Yulieski Gurriel after Game 3 of the World Series in Houston on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.



Gurriel hopes to speak with Darvish about what happened.

"Yes, of course. I want to talk to him because I have nothing against him," he said. "I think he's one of the best pitchers in Japan, and I never had success against him. ... If he felt offended, I want to apologize to him."

Gurriel spent 15 years in the Cuban professional league and played in Japan for a year before signing with the Astros last season. Gurriel homered and doubled in Game 3 and is batting .346 in the postseason.

Some of Darvish's former teammates with the Rangers called out Gurriel for his actions on Twitter. Pitcher Jake Diekman used an emoji to call the gesture trash, and outfielder Ryan Rua said "really hope that gesture from Gurriel wasnt directed towards Yu...no place for that."

Darvish hopes the incident can be a learning experience.

"Nobody's perfect and everybody is different and then ... we just ... have to learn from it," he said. "And then he made a mistake and then we're just going to learn from it. We are all human beings. That's what I'm saying, so just learn from it and we've got to go forward, move forward."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

For complete coverage of the Los Angeles Dodgers, visit abc7.com/dodgers.

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