Yermín in uniform at Triple-A, says 'I'm Back'

July 22nd, 2021

CHICAGO -- was in uniform with Triple-A Charlotte for a contest in Durham Thursday night and was on the Knights’ active roster, according to the White Sox.

That return followed Mercedes’ short-lived retirement post on Instagram Wednesday night, featuring an “It’s over” message in big block print.

Mercedes also posted the following message on his Instagram account Thursday regarding his return to active status.

“I’m Never Going to Give Up

“I Spent 10 Years In The Minor Leagues I’ve Always Understood That The Process Is Big But The Talent & What I’ve Shown Speak For Themselves With The Utmost Humility I’m Speaking From The Heart

“My Dream Is To Be An Established Major League Player I’ve Always Asked God To Give Me The Opportunity That he Gave Me 3 Months Ago I Owe My Family, My Organization And My Fans I Apologize Once Again If I’ve Failed In Anything I Have Baseball In My Blood And It’s Just The Beginning For Yermín Mercedes Thank You My God For Guiding Me Through The Right Path And Making The Right Decision Anyone That’s In The Same Situation As I Am Take God’s Hand As He Can Do Anything and forget about the criticism and the bad comments that will always exist To steamroll one’s personality. God bless y’all. I love everybody I’m Back.”

Mercedes, who is slashing .298/.365/.632 with four home runs and 10 RBIs since returning to the Knights on July 3 after being optioned on July 2, finished 0-for-2 on Wednesday and was pinch-hit for by fellow catcher Nate Nolan in the sixth inning of the Knights’ 7-3 loss to Durham. Over his nine games with the Knights, Mercedes has been charged with seven passed balls and has allowed nine stolen bases.

Returning to Charlotte appears to be a tough adjustment for the catcher after he captured American League Rookie of the Month honors in April. He was one of the best stories in all of baseball for the first 5-6 weeks of the season.

The 28-year-old Mercedes, who has played 632 games and had 2,459 at-bats in the Minors, broke through with eight hits in his first eight at-bats this year, posting a slash line of .415/.455/.659 through April. Mercedes featured a slash line of .364/.410/.574 on May 17, the same night he homered through a take sign on a 3-0 pitch from Twins position player Willians Astudillo in the ninth inning 0f a game Chicago led, 15-4, at the time.

Manager Tony La Russa was critical of Mercedes’ actions the following day, focusing, in part, on the fact that Mercedes did not follow the sign given to him. But La Russa also has been one of Mercedes’ staunchest supporters. The White Sox would not be where they are today without Mercedes’ unreal April, but there would have been no chance for that unreal April without La Russa giving Mercedes the opportunity to serve as the designated hitter beginning with the White Sox first series of the season in Anaheim.

From May 18 to June 30, Mercedes had a .162/.236/.207 slash line with one home run and two doubles. Mercedes has the ability to play various positions, but while La Russa has consistently praised his raw skills behind the plate, the White Sox don’t have the confidence in Mercedes’ experience to put him at catcher consistently at the big league level.

This team has its sights set on a World Series championship, and a priority for its catching is being able to handle the club’s exceptional pitching staff and call games. La Russa spoke of reaching out to Mercedes following Wednesday’s 7-2 loss to the Twins, when La Russa first heard the news of Mercedes’ initial Instagram post. But there was no further statement from the organization regarding Mercedes beyond his status for Thursday’s game.