Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Report: Yuli Gurriel suspended for the first five games of 2018 regular season

92 Comments

On Friday night, after homering off of Dodgers starter Yu Darvish in Game 3 of the World Series, Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel mocked the pitcher — who is from Japan — by pulling at the corners of his eyes and using the word “chinito,” which translates to “little Chinese.”

Gurriel apologized after the game, claiming his intent wasn’t to offend. Commissioner Rob Manfred said he intended to speak with Gurriel on Saturday before Game 4. There was some clamor, including from us, that Gurriel should be suspended at least one game during the World Series. That isn’t happening.

Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that Gurriel has been suspended for five games starting at the beginning of the 2018 regular season. Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times adds that Gurriel will attend sensitivity training.

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow released this statement:

The Houston Astros were surprised and disappointed by the behavior displayed by Yuli Gurriel during last night’s game. The Astros and Major League Baseball pride ourselves on the diversity of our sport and in showing great respect to all cultures represented by our players, front office staff, fans and members of the media.

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.

We support Major League Baseball’s decision of a five-game suspension for the 2018 season. 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.

Players who had previously been punished for bigoted behavior served two- or three-game suspensions. Gurriel’s five-game regular season suspension is likely due to his behavior being seen by manyfold more people on baseball’s biggest stage.

All things considered, though, Gurriel got off easy and Major League Baseball missed a great opportunity to back up its recent dialogue about wanting more diversity, wanting to be more inclusive. Manfred said there is “no place in our game” for Gurriel’s behavior, McCullough reports, which would’ve been much more believable if Gurriel faced an immediate punishment.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.