Houston Astros slugger Yuli Gurriel was handed a five-game 2018 suspension on October 28, 2017 for a racist gesture directed at Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish but will be free to play in the remainder of the World Series
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.
Manfred said he did not banish the 33-year-old Cuban infielder from this year’s best-of-seven championship series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in part because he did not want to punish the entire Astros squad for one player’s actions.
“I understand people will have different views but it was my best judgement that this timing was appropriate,” Manfred said.
Manfred said it was also in part because Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish, the Japanese hurler who was the target of the insult, wants to move forward as quickly as possible from the incident.
“He handled this in as classy a way as a player possibly could something as negative as this,” Manfred said of Darvish.
Darvish, 31, was tagged for four runs off five hits in the second inning, the first of those a solo home run by Gurriel, who later in the Astros dugout put his fingers to the outside of his eyes and pulled the skin tight.
Gurriel, who played the 2014 season for Japan’s Yokohama BayStars, apologized to Darvish and said he meant no disrespect but Manfred said such a racist gesture had to be punished by a greater-than-usual ban.
“The two (games ban) that is the standard that had evolved over two or three situations was inadequate,” Manfred said. “I decided to go beyond that.”
Manfred also justified not banning Gurriel for the World Series because he wanted a loss of salary involved and because Gurriel, who could play while appealing any suspension under Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement with its players union, would not appeal this move.
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