Yunel Escobar #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays signals to the dugout during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on September 15, 2012 at Rogers Centre in Toronto (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(USA Today) -- The message below Yunel Escobar's eyes was unmistakable. His intention in making such a statement is harder to decipher.
Escobar, a Cuban-born shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays, wore eye black during Saturday's game against the Boston Red Sox that read, "Tu ere..." followed by a seven-letter Spanish word that's a derogatory term for a homosexual.
Even with the misspelled middle word (the correct form is "eres''), the Spanish-language sentence clearly makes an offensive remark.
It's not clear who the message was intended for or what the purpose was. Escobar has not responded to an e-mail, but Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney told USA TODAY Sports that MLB is looking into the matter.
"The Toronto Blue Jays do not support discrimination of any kind nor condone the message displayed by Yunel Escobar during Saturday's game," the Blue Jays said in a statement. "The club takes this situation seriously and is investigating the matter."
Escobar, who is batting .251 with nine homers and 49 RBI, could face sanctions from baseball if it deems his actions inappropriate. Ozzie Guillen, then the manager of the Chicago White Sox, was fined and ordered to undergo sensitivity training after directing a racial slur at columnist Jay Mariotti in 2006. As a manager, however, Guillen was not subject to baseball's collective bargaining agreement.
A close-up of Escobar with the offensive message was posted on Flickr by a fan whose Twitter handle is @james_in_TO.
The Blue Jays said Escobar had flu-like symptoms Sunday and he did not play. The team is off today.
Escobar, 29, has been known to write messages on his eye black, often humorous in nature, and the slur he used is often tossed around by Latin players when joshing with each other.
However, wearing a piece of equipment on the field with such a statement may have crossed the line of decorum. The message engendered debate about Escobar's intentions on social media.
Escobar played for the Atlanta Braves from 2007 to 2010 before joining the Blue Jays.