White Sox manager Tony La Russa stands by criticism of his own slugger Yermin Mercedes
Tony La Russa's doubled – tripled? – down on the matter of baseball's "unwritten rules" and stood by the criticism of his own player from the last two days.
During a 15-4 blowout Monday and a Minnesota Twins position player, Willians Austidillo, on the mound, Chicago White Sox catcher Yermin Mercedes blasted a home run to center field on a 3-0 pitch.
Baseball traditionalists cried afoul, saying that Mercedes should not be swinging in that count. La Russa, 76, and his in his first year managing the White Sox after a decade away from a Major League Baseball dugout, took that side of the debate in his postgame comments Monday and Tuesday, when Twins reliever Tyler Duffey was ejected for throwing at Mercedes.
Speaking before Wednesday's White Sox-Twins matinee, La Russa said "you think you need more [runs] to win, you keep pushing. If you think you have enough, respect the game and opposition. Sportsmanship."
"If you're going to tell me that sportsmanship and respect for the game of baseball and respect for your opponent is not an important priority, then I can't disagree with you more.''
After the Twins threw behind Mercedes on Tuesday, La Russa said he had no problem with the way Minnesota handled it
Tony La Russa looks up during the sixth inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 15, 2021. (Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Getty Images)
Mercedes, a 28-year-old rookie, is currently leading the American League in batting average (.368) with six homers and a .988 OPS.
"He made a mistake. He's young. We handled it. But I think it's important for the Twins or anybody to know we play with sportsmanship. That's unacceptable. Whoever doesn't like that, you're welcome to your opinion."
Contributing: Bob Nightengale
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
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