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Sports

White Sox boss fumes over 'clueless' Mercedes blast

  • "Dear people who are still mad about a hitter hitting: kindly get out of the game ... If you don't like it, managers or pitchers, just be better."
Published May 19, 2021

LOS ANGELES: Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa took aim at his rookie Yermin Mercedes on Tuesday after the catcher blasted a ninth inning home run during a blowout victory against Minnesota.

Mercedes attracted La Russa's ire after smacking a 429-foot homer into the stands during Monday's rout over the Twins, when the White Sox were leading 15-4 in the ninth.

The Dominican catcher's homer came off a 3-ball, 0-strike pitch from Twins position player Willians Astudillo, breaking one of baseball's so-called unwritten rules about swinging on a 3-0 count.

Mercedes defended his home run swing on Tuesday, saying he had no intention of changing the way he plays.

"I'm going to play like that. I can't be another person because if I change it, everything is going to change," Mercedes said. "We're just having fun. It's baseball."

But Sox manager La Russa was unimpressed.

"He made a mistake," La Russa said on Tuesday. "There will be a consequence he has to endure here within our family."

"That he's a rookie, and excited, helps explain why he just was clueless. But now he's got a clue.

"I was upset because that's not a time to swing 3-0. With that kind of lead that's just sportsmanship and respect for your opponent."

La Russa's criticism of his own player was greeted with bemusement by other Major League Baseball players on Tuesday however.

"Dear hitters: If you hit a 3-0 homer off me, I will not consider it a crime," Los Angeles Dodgers ace pitcher Trevor Bauer wrote on Twitter.

"Dear people who are still mad about a hitter hitting: kindly get out of the game ... If you don't like it, managers or pitchers, just be better."

La Russa's comments were also given short shrift by San Francisco Giants pitcher Alex Wood.

"If there's a position player pitching in a big league game all 'rules' are out the window imho," Wood wrote on Twitter.

"Give the people what they want."

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