ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel started the season Thursday on baseball’s restricted list to serve his five-game suspension from the World Series rather than on the disabled list after hand surgery last month.
Gurriel was suspended after making an inappropriate gesture during Game 3 of the World Series. Gurriel said then that he didn’t intend to offend Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish when he pulled on the corners of his eyes after homering against the pitcher from Japan.
Barring rainouts, he will lose $322,581 of his $12 million salary.
After arriving at spring training with a broken bone in his left hand, Gurriel had surgery on Feb. 28 to remove the hook of the hamate bone. At the time, Gurriel was expected to miss the first two weeks of the season on the DL.
While the World Series champions opened the season Thursday at Texas, Gurriel was part of minor league spring training in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Manager A.J. Hinch said Gurriel is going to serve the suspension and miss the first five games of the season. Hinch said the Astros will make a determination after that if the first baseman is healthy enough to join the team.
The 33-year-old Gurriel hit .299 with 18 homers and 75 RBIs last year in his first full season in the majors. He signed with Houston following a stellar career in Cuba and a brief stint in Japan.
While sitting in the dugout after his homer during Game 3 of the World Series last October in Houston, Gurriel made the inappropriate gesture. He put his fingers to the side of his eyes and used a derogatory Spanish term.
In a statement then, Gurriel issued a public apology to Darvish and said his offensive gesture that was indefensible. He also apologized to everyone he offended and said he deeply regretted it.
Major League Baseball announced its suspension before Game 5 of the World Series and said it would be served during the 2018 season.
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