3:19pm: Gurriel will not appeal the suspension, the MLBPA announced (Twitter link).
3:06pm: Manfred has confirmed Nightengale’s report, announcing that Gurriel will be suspended without pay for the Astros’ first five games next year. The commissioner told McCullough and other reporters that suspending Gurriel for any of the World Series would have been “unfair” to the rest of the Astros’ players (Twitter link). The Astros will donate Gurriel’s forfeited salary to charity, and he’ll undergo offseason sensitivity training, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group tweets. “Based on my conversation (with Gurriel) he understood both the language and the gesture were offensive,” Manfred said.
2:52pm: The league will not suspend Gurriel for any of the World Series, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Instead, Gurriel will serve a five-game ban in 2018. The MLBPA “fought hard” on Gurriel’s behalf, Nightengale adds (on Twitter).
8:27am: Thanks in part to first baseman Yuli Gurriel, the Astros earned a 5-3 victory over the Dodgers on Friday to take a 2-1 lead in the World Series. Gurriel racked up two hits, including a solo home run off Dodgers right-hander Yu Darvish, in one of the most important wins in Astros history, but his racist gesture aimed at Darvish has overshadowed his performance.
Shortly after the game ended, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times reported on Twitter that Major League Baseball will interview Gurriel on Saturday about the gesture, which the 33-year-old made in the Astros’ dugout after his second-inning homer (video via Deadspin). Kepner added that the league will consider disciplining Gurriel.
Gurriel did express remorse after the game, telling David Waldstein of the New York Times and other reporters, “I want to apologize to [Darvish] and tell him I did not mean to offend him.”
Darvish, meanwhile, took Gurriel’s actions in stride, saying: “He made a mistake. He’ll learn from it. We’re all human beings” (Twitter links via Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times). He then issued a more extensive statement on Twitter.
“What he had done today isn’t right,” Darvish tweeted. “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.”
While Darvish has handled the situation as gracefully as possible, commissioner Rob Manfred might not be as forgiving toward Gurriel. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports and Jon Heyman of FanRag argue that Manfred should hand Gurriel a one-game suspension, but ESPN’s Buster Olney notes that he likely wouldn’t have to sit out at all during the World Series because of the appeals process (Twitter link). That would take the teeth out of a potential ban, then, though it still wouldn’t be surprising to see Manfred issue one. After all, the league gave two-game suspensions during the regular season to both Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar and Athletics outfielder Matt Joyce for using anti-gay slurs. The stakes are obviously much higher for the Astros now than they were for either the Jays or A’s then, which sets up Manfred to make one of the most difficult decisions of his two-plus-year tenure atop MLB, Rosenthal observes.
Regardless of Gurriel’s status, the Astros will attempt to move one win closer to a title on Saturday.