UPDATED 10/28/17, 8:20 p.m. ET: The MLB has announced that Gurriel will be suspended without pay for the first five games of the 2018 season for his actions. The Astros have released the following statement from Gurriel:
Astros 1B Yuli Gurriel suspended without pay for first 5 games of 2018 regular season for inappropriate actions during last night’s game.— MLB (@MLB) October 28, 2017
See original story below.
In the second inning of last night's Game 3 World Series showdown against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel ignited the offense with his first home run of this postseason. The rocket of a homer over the left field wall not only put the Astros on the board first, it was the start a four-run outburst that would propel Houston to a 5-3 victory.
Even though he played a pivotal role in jump-starting the Astros' previously middling World Series offense last night, Gurriel found himself talking little about his blast and more about his actions in the dugout after was caught on camera making a racist gesture directed at Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish following his solo shot.
"I just feel bad," Gurriel said through an interpreter, according to the New York Times. "If anybody got offended over there, it was not my intention." Gurriel also admits to using the Spanish word "Chinito," a demeaning term for Asians, while in the dugout. "In Cuba we call everybody who is from Asia 'Chino,'" he said. "We don’t call them Japanese. We call them Chino. Plus, I know in Japan that offends them. They don't like that, but I didn’t mean to do it." Gurriel tried explaining that his gesture was in response to his inability to hit Japanese pitchers when he played in Japan in 2014.
After finding out about Gurriel's gesture, Darvish was initially upset (and rightfully so), but later issued a statement on his Twitter account, asking his fans to forgive Gurriel. "What he had done today isn't right," he wrote. "But I believe we should put our effort into learning rather than to accuse him. If we can take something from this, that is a giant step for mankind."
Gurriel hopes to speak with Darvish and apologize for his actions, saying, "I want to apologize to him, and tell him I did not mean to offend him."
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to meet with Gurriel prior to Game 4 on Saturday.