Sox Reporter

Mercedes adds pitching appearance to his crazy Sox start

Sox Reporter

Is there anything Yermín Mercedes can't do?

If there is, we haven't seen it yet.

His red-hot start at the plate ongoing — he's hitting .404 with a 1.127 OPS — Mercedes took a break from mashing to do a little pitching.

RELATED: Sox ace Giolito explains uncharacteristic shelling at Fenway

Yes, you read that correctly.

With just about everything else about Monday's 11-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox falling into the "forgettable" category for White Sox fans, they might want to remember this: Mercedes taking the mound in a surprise relief appearance.

The game was out of hand in the seventh inning, but with the bullpen fresh off Sunday's doubleheader and two games in Cleveland before Thursday's off day, White Sox manager Tony La Russa called on Mercedes to help out the club.

"He asked me if I'm ready for it," Mercedes said after the game. "I said, 'Yeah, I'm feeling good for that. If you need me, I'll be there.'

"It's a good time. Just having fun every time. If they need you, ... whatever side, you just be ready for everything. Fun every time."

Mercedes had pitched before, albeit in independent ball a while back. That's a far cry from taking the mound in a big league game at Fenway Park.

He got all three outs he needed to in the seventh, giving up a run on a trio of hits and a pair of walks. He might not crack La Russa's list of late-game options, but he helped out with the White Sox in a tough spot Monday.

 

While position players pitching have gone from eye-popping novelty to a more frequent occurrence as managers try to maximize the availability of relievers in games their teams can actually win, Mercedes' outing was not without it's own wacky factor.

It was the first time Mercedes played the field in his major league career. He had done nothing but serve as the White Sox designated hitter prior to Monday.

Mercedes not only made yet another entry into the record books, but he grabbed the attention of some White Sox fans with his unexpected velocity, hitting the upper 80s on the radar gun. After the game, he said he could probably get up to 93 or 94 mph.

Not bad for a DH.

And there was one other unusual sight during Mercedes' trip to the rubber: He was wearing a hat.

Mercedes, a catcher by trade, doesn't require a hat for that part of his job, nor does he wear anything but a helmet when he hits. So not only was this the first time Mercedes took the field as a big leaguer, it's the first time a lot of White Sox fans have seen him with a hat on. And he just so happens to don his cap at the jaunty angle baseball fans have seen from pitchers like Fernando Rodney and Pedro Strop.

"It's like Dominican style," Mercedes said after the game. "All Dominican players use the hat like that. But no, I put my hat like that because I like using it.

"I don't use it a lot in the game. When I'm catching, I don't use the hat. When I DH, I don't use a hat, too. But when we practice, doing stuff in the field, I wear my hat like that. I like it."

The White Sox are probably hoping this was a one-time thing for Mercedes. But the up-for-anything youngster who's taken the baseball world by storm here in the early going this season just keeps giving folks reasons to tune in.

"Just another chapter in how amazing he is," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said after the game. "We reminded him several times you cannot air it out, try to overthrow it and hurt yourself.

"I guarantee you that he's got more stuff than he showed today."

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