White Sox rookie Yermin Mercedes says he retires from baseball after relegation to Triple-A

Chicago White Sox rookie DH Yermin Mercedes has decided to retire from baseball. The surprise announcement comes not long after Mercedes was demoted to Triple-A. Mercedes broke the news via its Instagram account on Wednesday night and did so with an apologetic tone:

However, the White Sox has not received an official word on Mercedes’ decision:

Mercedes was one of the biggest stories from the first weeks of the 2021 season. The 28-year-old battled .415 / .455 / .659 through the end of April with five home runs and 34 hits in 22 games. Fifteen of those hits came in his first six games of the season. He also became the first player in modern MLB history to begin his career with eight straight hits. As a result, Mercedes was named AL Rookie of the Month for April.

However, Mercedes’ decline began shortly thereafter. In May, he hit .221 / .292 / .326 with two home runs in 28 games, and manager Tony La Russa touched on controversy after criticizing Mercedes for homing in on a 3-0 pitch from a positional player who threw in a blowout. In June, Mercedes’ slash dipped to .159 / .221 / .190 in 18 games. In early July, the White Sox demoted him to Triple-A Charlotte. He has been producing at a high level since he was sent down, but Mercedes does not have an obvious path back to the big ones at this point. It no doubt contributed to his apparent frustration. Right now, Gavin Sheets and Jake Burger are sharing time at DH, and the eventual return of injured outfielders Eloy JimĂ©nez and Luis Robert could lead to a roster crunch. All of this has probably contributed to Mercedes’ apparent frustration.

The White Sox originally acquired Mercedes from the Baltimore Orioles in the minor league phase of the 2017 Rule 5 draft. In his winding journey to the MLB, Mercedes spent parts of nine seasons in the minors, including two stints in the independent independent ball. If this really is the end for Mercedes, he will end his MLB career with a streak of .270 / .327 / .402 with seven home runs and 65 hits in 69 games with the White Sox.

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