In April, Yermín Mercedes was one of baseball’s biggest stories while riding the best hitting start in modern MLB history.
On Wednesday, he abruptly announced that he’s quitting baseball. The Chicago White Sox catcher posted an Instagram message reading “it’s over” in large white font against a black background. It was accompanied with a message thanking God and his fans.
“First of all I want to thank God for giving me life to the fans that without them I was nothing,” Mercedes wrote, per a Chicago Sun-Times translation. “To my family for understanding me and always supporting … I walk away from baseball for a while God bless you. It’s over.”
He also apologized to members of the media for “my immaturity.” It’s not clear what he was referencing there.
White Sox haven’t received retirement papers
The White Sox released a statement that they’re aware of his message, but that they haven’t received any official correspondence from Mercedes.
“The White Sox are aware of tonight’s Instagram post by Yermín Mercedes, who is currently on the active roster of our Class AAA team in Charlotte, NC,” the statement reads. “At this point in time, the White Sox have not received any official notification from Yermín concerning his future plans.”
Mercedes’ historic start
Mercedes made headlines with his scorching-hot MLB debut as he went 8-for-8 to start his season, the most consecutive hits to start an MLB season since 1900, per Elias Sports. The 28-year-old rookie was making his long-awaited major league debut after bouncing around minor leagues since 2011.
He’d finally gotten his shot and made the most of it. He finished April hitting .415 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 22 games, earning AL Rookie of the Month honors.
Drama with Tony La Russa
He made headlines again in May when he drew the ire of manager Tony La Russa, who criticized him for hitting a home run while the White Sox held an 11-run lead over the Minnesota Twins. The incident ignited a debate over the place of unwritten rules in modern baseball.
The White Sox demoted Mercedes to Triple-A Charlotte on July 2 amid a hitting slump. He reportedly posted his Instagram message on Wednesday after being pulled for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning of Charlotte’s game.
Is Mercedes really done for good?
For the season, Mercedes is slashing .271/.328/.404 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs in 240 at-bats. La Russa told reporters Wednesday night that he would reach out to Mercedes.
“As you probably know, if you are paying attention, several times he said how close we are,” La Russa said, per MLB’s Scott Merkin. “He knows I’m a supporter of his. So I’ll reach out to him and see what’s going on. It could be he’s just feeling frustrated.
“I’ll try to explain to him he’s got a big league future.”
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