White Sox rookie sensation Mercedes stepping away from baseball

Ron Vesely / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Chicago White Sox catcher/designated hitter Yermin Mercedes, who briefly became a sensation earlier this year after a record-setting start to his season and career, says he is stepping away from baseball.

Mercedes, who was playing at Triple-A Charlotte, started for the Knights on Wednesday and went 0-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch hitter. A few hours later, he posted the surprising announcement to Instagram in Spanish.

His announcement appears to have caught the White Sox off guard.

"The White Sox are aware of tonight's Instagram post by Yermin Mercedes, who is currently on the active roster of our (Triple-A) team in Charlotte," the team said in a statement obtained by Scott Merkin of MLB.com. "At this point in time, the White Sox have not received any official notification from Yermin concerning his future plans."

Mercedes burst onto the scene as a 28-year-old rookie this past April with a magical early-season run that helped make him an instant fan favorite on the South Side of Chicago. He became the first player since 1900 to start a season with eight straight hits and was named AL Rookie of the Month for April.

In May, White Sox manager Tony La Russa controversially called out Mercedes for hitting a home run on a 3-0 count while Chicago held a large lead. He cooled down significantly following that incident and was optioned to Triple-A on July 2.

Mercedes seemed to have rediscovered his stroke in Charlotte, hitting .298 in Triple-A but was not recalled to Chicago when starting catcher Yasmani Grandal landed on the injured list earlier this month.

La Russa was surprised by the news and is hoping this is just a case of Mercedes blowing off some steam.

"Kind of understand; you're in Triple-A, had a taste of the big leagues, and you can get emotional," La Russa said, according to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. "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."

The skipper added: "He knows I'm a supporter of his."

Mercedes, who also got one at-bat with the White Sox in 2020, hit .271/.328/.404 with seven homers, 37 RBIs, 20 walks, and 46 strikeouts over 68 big-league games this year.

White Sox rookie sensation Mercedes stepping away from baseball
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