NEW YORK — The Blue Jays suspended SS Yunel Escobar for three games Tuesday for wearing eyeblack displaying a homophobic slur written in Spanish during Saturday's game against the Red Sox.
Escobar apologized "to all those who have been offended" for what he said was meant to be "just a joke."
"It was not something I intended to be offensive," he said through a translator. "It was not anything intended to be directed at anyone in particular."
The suspension — issued after input from commissioner Bud Selig, the players' union and team management — was to have started Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. The game between Toronto and New York was rained out.
As part of his penalty, Escobar's lost salary during the ban — about $82,000 — will be directed to two advocacy groups, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and You Can Play.
Escobar will also take part in an outreach initiative to promote tolerance to others based on their sexual orientation, and participate in a sensitivity training program.
Pictures posted online showed the 29-year-old Cuban infielder with the message written in his eyeblack, a sticker players wear under their eyes to reduce sun glare, during a home game.
Major League Baseball regulations prohibit derogatory words and symbols on uniforms. Writing something of that nature on eyeblack would fall under that category, MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said.
In other Blue Jays news, the team agreed to a two-year deal with the International League's Buffalo Bisons to be its Triple-A affiliate.
DODGERS ACE CLEARED: Hip specialist Dr. Bryan Kelly said that reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw can continue to pitch without risking damage to his sore right hip, but the Dodgers want to keep the left-hander sidelined if the pain persists.
In other Dodgers news, closer Kenley Jansen, out since Aug. 28 after a recurrence of his irregular heartbeat, was cleared to resume pitching and was available out of the bullpen.
BAKER MILESTONE: Dusty Baker managed his 3,000th game, guiding the Reds against one of his former teams, the Cubs. Baker began his managerial career in 1993.
ANGELS: 1B Albert Pujols sat out to be with his wife, Deidre, who delivered the couple's fifth child Sunday in Kansas City.
INDIANS: LH reliever Rafael Perez, who has been out since April with a strained left lat muscle, was shut down for the season after having a setback.
MARLINS: RF Giancarlo Stanton is expected to remain out of the lineup until Friday with a strained muscle in his side.
ORIOLES: DH Jim Thome, out since July 31 with a herniated disc in his neck, said he felt no pain after a simulated game Monday, and he could return to the lineup this week.