With One Gesture, Yuli Gurriel Upends His Impressive Season

After Game 3, though, the Astros faced the possibility of not having Gurriel, at least for a game, after cameras caught him producing a racially insensitive gesture from the dugout after his homer off Yu Darvish. Gurriel touched his fingers to the edges of his eyes, stretching the skin as well as mocking the appearance of Darvish, who will be coming from Japan.

Major League Baseball planned to interview Gurriel as well as was considering disciplining him for the gesture. Two players, Oakland’s Matt Joyce as well as Toronto’s Kevin Pillar, were suspended For two main games This kind of season for using an anti-gay slur on the field, as well as Yunel Escobar, then of Toronto, was suspended for three games in 2012 for wearing eye black inscribed which has a similar slur.

Gurriel said the furor over his gesture surprised him, as well as he mentioned in which he had played in Japan — for the Yokohama BayStars, in 2014 — as well as respected Japanese people.

“I did not want to offend anybody,” he said through an interpreter. “I was commenting in which I did not have any Great luck against Japanese pitchers from the United States.”

Gurriel had been 1 for 7 against Darvish with the Astros, as well as his homer led off a second-inning onslaught of hard hits as well as loud outs. The Astros chased Darvish after just one as well as two-thirds innings, the shortest outing of Darvish’s major league career as well as his only game without a strikeout.

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Darvish after Gurriel’s home run. He lasted only one as well as two-thirds innings, allowing four runs.

Credit
Tannen Maury/European Pressphoto Agency

Asked about Gurriel’s gesture, Darvish said he was angry as well as found This kind of disrespectful. He also said everybody made mistakes as well as in which he hoped people could learn coming from Gurriel’s.

Gurriel has had much to learn since defecting, which he did at a later age than most Cuban players. He comes coming from a prominent baseball family in Cuba; his uncle, great-uncle as well as cousin starred there, as well as his father, Lourdes Sr., starred for the national team for 15 years as well as later managed This kind of. His brother, Lourdes Jr., will be a prospect with the Blue Jays.

Speaking in Spanish before a workout at Dodger Stadium on Monday, Gurriel said in which people often wondered why he did not leave Cuba sooner. As solid as he was This kind of season, batting .299 with 18 homers, 75 runs batted in as well as 43 doubles, he will be probably past his prime. He hit .335 which has a .997 on-base plus slugging percentage across 15 pro seasons — starting at age 17 — before joining the Astros organization.

“in which’s the question people ask me the most: ‘Why did you arrive so late? Why did you decide so late?’” he said. “Maybe I did. Inevitably, age just isn’t the same, as well as I could have left at 22 or something like additional players as well as spent their entire careers here, as well as maybe in which might have been better. however no, I don’t regret This kind of. I had the chance to play my entire life in Cuba as well as enjoy those great moments, as well as the chance to play in Japan. God wanted me to be here in This kind of moment today, as well as I’m enjoying This kind of.”

His Astros teammates have marveled at Gurriel’s skills — “He’s always had what I call the hit gene,” center fielder George Springer said — while understanding in which his transition to the United States, while smooth on the field, also has its challenges.

“This kind of’s a process,” Altuve said. “I did This kind of when I came coming from Venezuela, however I was way younger than him. The food, the people, the language, in which’s kind of tough for us, however I think This kind of organization helped me a lot to be part of This kind of culture. today I can say I speak O.K. English, I can communicate, I like the food, I have all my friends here coming from America. Sometimes I tell them to eat Venezuelan food. So we’re like brothers. This kind of will be a team in which incorporates a lot of chemistry.”

The Astros have such a deep offense in which their leader in runs batted in, Marwin Gonzalez, batted eighth in Game 3. in which suits Gurriel, who said he had felt pressure to carry his Cuban teams however did not hold the same feeling here.

“In Cuba, if I didn’t hit, I lost,” he said. “If I did hit, This kind of was normal as well as what I was supposed to do. So This kind of was truly hard to please people. This kind of’s been different here in This kind of lineup.”

At the same group interview in which he made those comments, Gurriel was asked a question by a Japanese reporter. He answered which has a few words in Japanese before continuing in Spanish.

“I identified a lot with the Japanese public,” Gurriel said. “This kind of was a truly great experience.”

Yet with one gesture in Game 3, Gurriel turned what should have been an experience to celebrate into something much different.

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