(Audacy) White Sox slugger Yermin Mercedes -- who was knee-deep inside of manager Tony La Russa’s doghouse before returning to the minor leagues last we saw -- has resurfaced in the Dominican Winter League, and he’s hitting dingers.
Suiting up for Tigres del Licey on Thursday night, Mercedes let it fly on a 3-0 count, taking Gigantes del Cibao hurler Juan Minaya (also a White Sox alum) deep for a towering, two-run homer to left field. That broke a 2-2 tie in the ninth inning as the Tigres went on to a 5-2 win.
Ever the showman, Mercedes spent several seconds admiring his handiwork from home plate before even considering the possibility of jogging to first base. He did eventually, though not before punctuating his trip around the bases with a monster bat flip that would make Jose Bautista proud.
If you recall, the genesis of La Russa’s feud with Mercedes stemmed from the Mercedes drilling a home run on a 3-0 count in a game the White Sox were leading by 11 runs last May. La Russa publicly admonished Mercedes for the swing, promising “consequences” while calling the rookie “clueless.” Mercedes lasted in the big leagues until early July before spending the remainder of 2021 in Triple-A, a demotion he didn't take well, as he claimed he was leaving the game of baseball before changing his mind a day later.
Aside from his heroics Thursday, Mercedes has struggled mightily in winter ball, submitting a tepid .190/.221/.270 batting line across 68 plate appearances. Del Licey’s roster is littered with current and former MLB players, including Ervin Santana, Erick Aybar, Ramon Laureano, Cesar Valdez, Arodys Vizcaino, Emilio Bonifacio, Aristedes Aquino, Nomar Mazara, Yasmany Tomas, Hanley Ramirez and former Red Sox infielder Jose Offerman, who serves as manager.