Seattle Mariners

Neris denies using homophobic slur, does not expect discipline for incident against Mariners

Houston Astros pitcher Hector Neris once again denied using a homophobic slur and said Friday he does not expect to be disciplined by Major League Baseball for his part in a benches-clearing incident against the Seattle Mariners this week.

The confrontation took place during Houston’s 8-3 win in Seattle in Wednesday. Neris struck out Julio Rodríguez to end the sixth inning and determinedly walked and shouted toward Rodríguez after the strikeout.

Neris said he shouted a profanity at Rodriguez in Spanish, but didn’t say anything he thinks would warrant a suspension. He added he had talked with MLB about the incident.

“I think it looks a little bit bad in the video, the intention,” Neris said through a translator. “We’re guys where we’re used to yelling back and forth at each other, heckling each other, joking around. I thought that was one of those moments, but obviously, it looks different because I walked towards him.

“Maybe that was where the misunderstanding was.”

Neris issued a written apology Thursday, denying he used a homophobic slur in the words he said to Rodríguez.

Rodriguez said Thursday that Neris attempted to reach out but he wasn’t interested in engaging with him. The two were teammates on the Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic team and are represented by the same agency.

Neris said Friday he understands why Rodriguez is still angry.

“He has his reasons because of the misunderstanding,” Neris said. “Maybe that’s something we’ll talk about once everything is more calm.”