In the sixth inning on Wednesday, Neris struck out Rodríguez and proceeded to aggressively shout at the 22-year-old while walking straight towards him. The two exchanged some heated words while the benches of both teams emptied.
In his statement, Neris called Rodríguez a friend, and suggested that his actions were meant as part of “friendly ongoing banter” that they’ve had for years.
“Julio has been a friend dating back to 2020, when we spent the pandemic working out together. We have had a friendly competition when one beats the other on the field, something that is customary in the Dominican Republic and especially among friends. My intent in going towards Julio was to get his attention as part of the ongoing friendly banter that we have had over the years,” wrote Neris.
Hector Neris released this statement: pic.twitter.com/6yDuoJA7eu— Julia Morales (@JuliaMorales) September 28, 2023
Neris also clarified that any reports saying that he used a homophobic slur against Rodríguez were “simply incorrect.”
On Thursday, Rodríguez was asked about the incident, and it seems he has not forgiven the 34-year-old reliever for his antics.
According to Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times, Rodríguez revealed that Neris reached out to him after the game, but he has “zero interest” in having a conversation with the Astros’ reliever, saying he feels “hurt” and “disrespected.”