Yulieski Gurriel, had just scored the first run of Game 3 of the World Series and was being followed by cameras as he celebrated with teammates in the dugout.
Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel will not be suspended for any games in the World Series but will be suspended without pay for the first five games of the 2018 regular season, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Saturday.
"I made an offensive gesture that was indefensible", Gurriel said in a statement released by the Astros. "But I played in Japan and I know [that is] offensive, so I apologize for that", he added.
Gurriel played pro baseball in Japan in 2014, but defected and signed with the Houston Astros in 2016. "I was commenting to my family that I didn't have any luck against Japanese pitchers here in the United States".
After the game, Darvish called the gesture by Gurriel disrespectful but said he still respected his opponent and that everyone should use it as a learning opportunity. Darvish is of Japanese and Iranian descent. "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".
Gurriel said the derogatory term is used commonly in Cuba to refer to Asian people.
Manfred faces a delicate balance in deciding how to discipline Gurriel.
"I know he's remorseful", Houston manager A.J. Hinch said.
"Acting like that, you just disrespect all the people around the world", he said in Japanese through a translator. "I sincerely apologize to everyone that I offended with my actions". Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar was suspended in May for using a homophobic slur. He was traded to the Dodgers at this year's July 31 trade deadline. Everybody's different. We've just got to learn from it.
Later, in a statement released on Twitter, the Iranian-Japanese player seemed more forgiving, adding that "no one is ideal", and while what Gurriel did "isn't right", he believes "we should put our effort into learning rather than to accuse him".
"Including him and I, nobody's flawless. Just learn from it and we have to move forward".