Yuli Gurriel is a talented Cuban Professional baseball player who has made his mark in the Major League Baseball. The star plays a dual role of First and Third baseman for the Houston Astros of the league. Yuli was previously associated with the Sancti Spiritus team in the Cuban professional baseball league. Ii is interesting to note that Yuli Gurriel is a versatile player and he has played various positions both as a second and third base as well as in the shortstop position. He helped the Astros to win the 2017 World Series Championship. Read interesting facts about Yuli below.
Born Yulieski Gourriel Castello on the 9th day of June 1984 in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, the player’s parents are of Cuban descent. As should be the case for every young lad whose father is a sportsman, Yuli got inspired by his father Lourdes Gourriel who was a former professional baseball player for the Cuban national team. Lourdes had won several awards during his active career years including an Olympic gold medal. While he was growing up, Yuli participated in several baseball youth programs organised in Cuba.
Making his career start in 2004, Yuli Gurriel completed his youth career with the Sancti Spiritus as well as the Industriales teams of the Cuban League. He led the Cuban league in scoring and runs during the 2004/05 season. The following season, he led the league in triples, as well as, runs and RBIs. The up and coming star also played for the Cuban national team; he led the team to clinch the gold medal at the Summer Olympics held in 2004. After that, he continued to improve in his game thus leading the national team to the World Baseball Classic held in 2006. Although his team didn’t win the championship, he was able to finish the championship with .515 slugging percentage and .273 batted percentage.
Additionally, Yuli also led the national team to the Olympics held in 2008, as well as the World Classics Championship in 2009. In 2014, he got a one year contract with the Japenes League team called Yokohama DeNA BayStars. There he completed the 2014/15 before joining the American league.
Yuli Gurriel’s MLB Career
Following the conclusion of the Caribbean Baseball Championship held in the Dominican Republic in February 2016, the MLB certified Gurriel to be signed to the league as a free agent. In July of the same, the player was signed by the Houston Astros of the MLB in a five-year contract worth 47.5 million.
Joining the American baseball league, Yuli made his first professional appearance in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast league while playing for the Gulf Coast Astros. After two games, he was sent to the Lancaster JetHawks of the California League and after four games; he was elevated to the Texas League where he appeared in five games for the Corpus Christi Hooks. He also spent some time with Fresno Grizzlies baseball team before making his return to the pro league.
In 2017, the Cuban star helped the Astros team to win the World Series Championship while they triumphed over Los Angeles Dodgers with a record of 5 – 1.
Why Was He Suspended?
The Astros star was given a suspension for his misconduct during their World Series competition in 2017. Yuli incurred the suspension following an inappropriate hand gesture against Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish. His action was percieved as a racist gesture thus raising several eyebrows in the league. After the game, the MLB commissioner Rob Manfred disclosed that the player would be penalized.
The Commissioner further stated that the Cuban player would serve a five-match ban during the 2018 regular season and will not be paid during the time of his suspension. Yuli, on the other hand, missed the first five games of the Astros during the 2018 season and further apologized for his behavior while pledging to be of good conduct in the league henceforth. He also accepted to enroll for sensitivity training during the offseason.
Yuli Gurriel’s Family – Brother and Wife
Yuli comes from a baseball-loving nation and his family is not an exception. His father is a former baseball player and Olympic medalist while his younger brother Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is also making waves in the game. The two brothers played professionally for Sancti Spiritu in the Cuban league before joining the American Baseball League. Becoming an international free agent in 2016, Lourdes Jr signed up with the Toronto Blue Jays in a seven-year career deal. The contract is worth $22 million and he has been a great addition to the Blue Jays team to date.
In addition to his flourishing baseball career, Yuli Gurriel also has an interesting love life but is very secretive when it comes to his wife and kids. The baseball star is happily married to a beautiful Cuban lady, however, nothing is known about their relationship including his wife’s name. They both have son Jayden who was born in July 2018.