Less than 24 hours after saying he was stepping away from baseball, Yermin Mercedes was in uniform for the White Sox’ Triple-A Charlotte Knights for their game in Durham, N.C., on Thursday.
That word came from the White Sox, who learned from Mercedes on his Instagram account Wednesday that Mercedes, demoted from the major league club to Charlotte after falling into a prolonged hitting slump, was quitting baseball.
The news broke during the Sox’ 7-2 loss to the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“Kind of understand, you’re in Triple-A, had a taste of the big leagues, and you can get emotional,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “I’ll reach out to him.
“It could be just a little frustration. I’ll explain to him that he has a big-league future.”
Apparently it was just that. Mercedes apologized for his actions Thursday.
“I will never give up,” Mercedes posted moments ago. “I lasted 10 years in the minor leagues. My dream is to be a player established in the big leagues.
A defensively challenged catcher being used as a designated hitter, Mercedes got his chance to play because of Eloy Jimenez’ injury during spring training and took the major leagues by storm, going 8-for-8 to start the season and earning American League Rookie of the Month honors for April. The 5-11, 245-pound 28-year-old rookie enjoyed instant fame and attention — he had a hamburger named after him by a local restaurant — but slumped terribly in the second half of May and June and was optioned to Charlotte on July 2.
In 14 games, Mercedes was batting .309/.377/.655 with four home runs at Charlotte and probably thought he would return to the Sox when catcher Yasmani Grandal went on the injured list two weeks ago, but the Sox called up light-hitting Seby Zavala because of his superior defensive and game-calling skill.