In April, Yermín Mercedes was one of baseball's biggest stories while riding the best hitting start in modern MLB history.
On Wednesday, he abruptly announced that he's quitting baseball. The Chicago White Sox catcher posted an Instagram message reading "it's over" in large white font against a black background. It was accompanied with a message thanking God and his fans.
Yermin Mercedes appears to announce his retirement from baseball in IG post
"And in this way I step away from baseball for an indefinite time. God bless. It’s over" pic.twitter.com/0AGgFGnloU
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) July 22, 2021
“First of all I want to thank God for giving me life to the fans that without them I was nothing,” Mercedes wrote, per a Chicago Sun-Times translation. “To my family for understanding me and always supporting ... I walk away from baseball for a while God bless you. It’s over.”
He also apologized to members of the media for "my immaturity." It's not clear what he was referencing there.
Mercedes suddenly un-retires
Shortly after Mercedes posted his retirement message, the White Sox announced that they hadn't received any official correspondence from him about retiring. Then on Thursday, the team announced that Mercedes was on the active roster for the Triple-A Charlotte Knights and in uniform for their evening game against Durham.
And shortly after that, Mercedes deleted his retirement announcement from Instagram and posted an un-retirement message, complete with an image of a flaming phoenix rising from the ashes.
"I will never give up," Mercedes wrote, according to an Instagram translation. He apologized to his family, his fans, and the White Sox organization, thanked God for "guiding me the right way," and said that he will try to forget the "criticism and bad comments that will always exist."
Mercedes' historic start
Mercedes made headlines with his scorching-hot MLB debut as he went 8-for-8 to start his season, the most consecutive hits to start an MLB season since 1900, per Elias Sports. The 28-year-old rookie was making his long-awaited major league debut after bouncing around minor leagues since 2011.
He'd finally gotten his shot and made the most of it. He finished April hitting .415 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 22 games, earning AL Rookie of the Month honors.
Drama with Tony La Russa
He made headlines again in May when he drew the ire of manager Tony La Russa, who criticized him for hitting a home run while the White Sox held an 11-run lead over the Minnesota Twins. The incident ignited a debate over the place of unwritten rules in modern baseball.
The White Sox demoted Mercedes to Triple-A Charlotte on July 2 amid a hitting slump. He reportedly posted his Instagram message on Wednesday after being pulled for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning of Charlotte's game.
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