Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa says that there will be a “consequence” that slugger Yermín Mercedes will have to deal with after missing a take sign and hitting a 3-0 pitch from Minnesota Twins infielder Willians Astudillo for a home run during a blowout victory Monday night.
The home run, which came during a 16-4 White Sox victory, set off a fierce debate on social media, with White Sox fans cheering the long ball and some, including Twins fans, criticizing Mercedes for swinging at a 3-0 pitch from a position player in a blowout game.
La Russa addressed the matter during a pregame press conference Tuesday, saying that he had given a sign to Mercedes to take the pitch, which came while the slugger had a three ball and no strikes count.
“It was a big mistake,” La Russa said. “I was upset because that’s not the time to swing 3-and-0. The Twins knew I was upset. With that kind of lead, it’s about sportsmanship, respect for your opponent and respect for the game. There’s going to be a consequence that he’s going to have to endure within our family. It won’t happen again. He’s not going to do that again.”
Mercedes was asked about the play, and told reporters that he was going to “play like that” and that baseball is supposed to be a fun game.
“I’m going to play like that. I’m Yermín,” he told reporters. “I can’t be another person because if I change it, everything is going to change. We’re just having fun. It’s baseball.”
La Russa fired back after those comments.
“I think I heard him say ‘I play my game.’ No he doesn’t,” the manager said. “He plays the game of Major League Baseball, (which) respects the game and respects the opponents, and that wasn’t (it).”
The White Sox will continue their series at Target Field on Tuesday night, with first pitch set for 6:40 p.m.