LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yu Darvish didn’t think it was necessary to meet with Yuli Gurriel after the Houston first baseman’s racist gesture toward the Dodgers pitcher.
Gurriel contacted the Dodgers and told them he wanted to meet with the pitcher in person and apologize.
Major League Baseball suspended Gurriel for the first five games next season for pulling on the corners of his eyes after homering off Darvish during Houston’s 5-3 win Friday. The Cuba-born player also used a derogatory Spanish term in reference to Darvish, who was born in Japan.
“I told him, ‘Hey, you don’t have to do that, because you made a comment, and like I’m not that mad,'” Darvish said Tuesday through a translator. “So I really didn’t care much about that.”
Darvish said a Dodgers employee informed him about Gurriel’s gesture, which was caught on television, after the Astros’ 5-3 win in Game 3 in Houston.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this big of a deal,” Darvish said. “But to me I wasn’t that frustrated at that point when I saw it the first time.”
After Friday’s game, Darvish tweeted “let’s stay positive and move forward instead of focusing on anger.”
But Dodgers fans weren’t as conciliatory.
Fans booed Gurriel heavily during pregame introductions, and got louder during his first at-bat in the second inning. Dodgers starter Rich Hill even stepped off the rubber before his first pitch to Gurriel, prolonging the booing.
“That was my silent gesture” to condemn Gurriel’s insult, Hill said.
The choruses of boos only changed into a raucous cheer when Gurriel fouled out. He flied out to right field in the fourth.
Initially, Gurriel apologized in a statement released by the Astros.
“I made an offensive gesture that was indefensible,” he said. “I sincerely apologize to everyone that I offended with my actions. I deeply regret it.”
Gurriel will lose $322,581 of his $12 million salary next year, which the Astros will donate to charitable causes. He also will be required to undergo sensitivity training during the offseason.
Darvish said he couldn’t decide whether Gurriel’s suspension was too much or too little, but that he understood why Commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t impose it during the World Series.
Darvish will start Game 7 on Wednesday.
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