HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) – Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel will be suspended the first five games of the 2018 season without pay after making an insensitive gesture and using a derogatory word during Friday night’s game, allowing him to play the remainder of the 2018 World Series.
Manfred said there were four reasons why he decided to push the suspension to 2018.
“First of all, I felt it was important that this suspension carry with it the penalty of loss salary. Secondly, I felt it was unfair to punish the other 24 players on the Astros roster, I wanted the burden of this discipline to fall primarily on the wrongdoer.”
“Third, I was impressed in my conversation with Yu Darvish by his desire to move forward, and I felt that moving the suspension to the beginning of the season would help in that regard. Last, when I originally began to think about the discipline, I thought the delay of the suspension will allow the player the opportunity to exercise his rights under the grievance procedure.”
Gurriel was caught making an insensitive gesture and mouthing a derogatory word towards Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish after hitting a home run in the second inning of the Astros 5-3 win in game three.
After the game, Gurriel through a translator said, “I did not mean it to be offensive at any point, 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.”
After game three, Darvish, who is from Japan, responded through a translator from the Dodgers clubhouse.
“I feel like, of course, Houston has Asian fans and Japanese fans, and Asian fans live all over the place,” Darvish said. “And acting like that, it’s just disrespectful to people around the world, to the Houston organization. It’s not OK.”
“Including him and I, nobody’s perfect. Everybody’s different. We’ve just got to learn from it. He made a mistake, and we’ve just got to learn from it. We are all human beings. It’s just learn from it, and we’ve got to move forward.”
Following Manfred’s announcement, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow released a statement saying they “support Major League Baseball’s decision of a five-game suspension for the 2018 season. The Astros will donate Yuli’s salary for this give games in equal parts to the Astros Foundation and to a charity directly supporting diversity efforts.”
“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 Major League Baseball Players Association announced it will not appeal the suspension.