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MLB Notebook

White Sox rookie catcher Yermín Mercedes says he’s leaving baseball

White Sox rookie catcher Yermín Mercedes announced on Instagram Wednesday that he's leaving baseball.
White Sox rookie catcher Yermín Mercedes announced on Instagram Wednesday that he's leaving baseball.Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Yermín Mercedes, the surprising rookie who helped carry the Chicago White Sox with his booming bat early in the season and got sent to the minors following a prolonged slump, says he is stepping away from baseball.

Mercedes announced his decision on Instagram on Wednesday. He posted an image of the words “it’s over.”

“First of all, I want to thank God for giving me life to the fans that without them I’m nothing,” he wrote. “I walked away from baseball for a while. God bless you. It’s over.”

The 28-year-old Mercedes sparked Chicago’s offense through the opening months of the season, batting .415 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 22 games in April. In May, Mercedes angered manager Tony La Russa by homering on a 3-0 pitch in the ninth inning of a game the White Sox led 15-4.

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The catcher eventually cooled off, hitting .150 (16 for 107) over his final 31 games with Chicago before being demoted to Triple-A Charlotte on July 2.

Orioles put Keegan Akin, Anthony Santander on COVID-19 IL

The Baltimore Orioles placed lefthander Keegan Akin and outfielder Anthony Santander on the COVID-19 injured list before Wednesday’s game at Tampa Bay.

Akin had been scheduled to start against the Rays.

Keegan Akin is 0-5 with an 8.19 ERA this season.
Keegan Akin is 0-5 with an 8.19 ERA this season.Colin E. Braley/Associated Press

Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde learned about the situation late Tuesday night.

“We’re following the protocols,” Hyde said. “There’s going to be more information. This is pretty last-minute news, so there’s going to be more information as we go along, but right now we’re putting two guys on the injured list because of COVID protocols and then we’ll go from there.”

Alexander Wells, who was on the taxi squad, replaced Akin as Wednesday’s starter. Outfielder Ryan McKenna, who had been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday, rejoined the team.

“You’ve seen it a few times here with the league with other clubs,” Hyde said. “It’s really the first time this has happened with us and it’s unfortunate, but I saw that a couple other teams had same sort of issue recently and ready for it to be over.”

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Tatis, Paddack lead Padres past Braves in doubleheader opener

Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a two-run homer, starter Chris Paddack reversed his recent struggles, and the San Diego Padres beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 in the first game of a doubleheader.

Tatis made it 3-0 in the fifth inning against reliever Shane Greene when his NL-leading 29th homer landed in the left-field seats. The All-Star shortstop has eight hits, seven runs scored, and six RBIs in his last five games.

Paddack (6-6), who had a 10.31 ERA in his last five appearances, worked five scoreless innings, allowing three hits with no walks and one strikeout.

“I’m going to continue to build on this, continue to grow, continue to put my head down, and tomorrow is day one of five days,” Paddack said. “I’m not trying to get ahead of myself here. We did a lot of great things today, but there’s still some improvements for my changeup. You know, 0-2 curveballs that we could’ve done a better job with. There’s always something you have to grow on.”

All-Star closer Mark Melancon wrapped it up for the Padres in the seventh, earning his major league-leading 28th save in 32 chances.

Stroman’s gem, Smith’s grand slam helps Mets beat Reds

Marcus Stroman tossed eight innings of one-hit ball to help the NL East-leading Mets top the Reds.
Marcus Stroman tossed eight innings of one-hit ball to help the NL East-leading Mets top the Reds.Dylan Buell/Getty

Marcus Stroman pitched one-hit ball for eight innings, Dominic Smith launched a grand slam, and the New York Mets cruised to a 7-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

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Stroman (7-8) gave up a clean leadoff line drive single to left by Aristides Aquino in the third inning and little else. He struck out seven and walked one while giving New York’s beleaguered bullpen precious rest going into Thursday’s day off.

“To be honest, I have the same mentality and mindset in every game,” he said. “It doesn’t change. That’s my goal. That’s the standard. That’s the key for me of whoever was on the mound – to go deep. It’s a great feeling to hear the guys saying, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’”

The Mets used a combined 12 relievers over the first two games in Cincinnati.

“Highly important, right?” said manager Luis Rojas, back in the dugout after serving a two-game suspension for excessive arguing on Sunday. “Stroman’s been outstanding this season. He’s kept us in a lot of games. His record doesn’t show how well he’s pitched. He gave us the eight innings. We needed it. We’re glad he gave that breather to the bullpen.”

Jeurys Familia struck out three in a hitless ninth.

Luis Guillorme hit his first homer of the season and Jonathan Villar also connected for the NL East leaders.

The top of the Mets’ order loaded the bases with three singles to begin the third against Jeff Hoffman (3-5), prompting a mound visit from pitching coach Derek Johnson.

Smith lofted Hoffman’s next pitch for an opposite-field drive into the seats in left for his second career grand slam. Smith’s other slam came last Sept. 11 against Toronto.

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