MINNEAPOLIS – Yermín Mercedes’ latest home run is causing some tension in the White Sox clubhouse.
With the game out of hand Monday night, Minnesota called on catcher/third baseman Willians Astudillo to pitch in the ninth inning. The fan favorite was down 3-0 in the count, when he served up a 47 mph meatball to Mercedes, who launched it 430 feet to the bullpens in left-center field to give the Sox a 16-4 lead.
The Twins’ broadcast booth was not happy and neither was Tony La Russa. The Sox skipper says Mercedes missed a take sign from third base coach Joe McEwing.
“Just about the time the guy started making the pitch, I ran, took several steps from the dugout onto the field yelling, ‘take, take, take.’ Just the way he was setup, it looked to me like he was going to swing. The whole time he’s rounding the bases, I’m out there and I was upset because that’s not a time to swing 3-0. I happened to look over there and I know the Twins knew that I was upset.”
“I’m going to play like that. I’m Yermin. I can’t be another person because if I change it, everything’s going to change. Everything was good. Some of my teammates was telling me, ‘just be relaxed, everything was good. Just do you.'”
La Russa wasn’t as forgiving, but did call it a learning experience.
“With that kind of lead, that’s just sportsmanship, respect for the game, respect for your opponent. He made a mistake. There will be a consequence that he has to endure here within our family. It won’t happen again because Joe will be on the lookout and I will be, too. We’ll go running in front of the pitcher if we have to. He’s not going to do that again. I heard he said something like ‘I play my game,’ but no he doesn’t. He plays the game of Major League Baseball, respects the game, respects the opponents and he’s got to respect the signs.”
If Mercedes had the green light on a 3-1 count, La Russa indicated it would have been fine.
It doesn’t appear that Mercedes will be disciplined Tuesday. He’s penciled in to the clean up spot for Game 2 with the Twins.