White Sox designated hitter Yermín Mercedes recently suffered a fractured hamate bone in his left hand, the club announced. He’ll undergo surgery next week and is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks.
Mercedes, owner of just one MLB plate appearance heading into last season, emerged as an April sensation in 2021. He hit .415/.455/.659 in the season’s first month, offense that translated to a 204 wRC+ that trailed only those of Mike Trout, J.D. Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. among qualified hitters. The rookie was never going to keep up anything like that kind of production, but few would’ve predicted the struggles he’d have.
From May 1 onwards, Mercedes posted only a .196/.264/.272 line, hitting just a pair of home runs in 174 plate appearances. The Sox optioned him to Triple-A Charlotte at the start of July. Mercedes’ production with the Knights was fine, as he hit .275/.318/.464 in 59 games. Yet he drew more attention for an Instagram post in which he said he was stepping away from baseball, only to reverse course and return to the club a day later.
After that incident, Mercedes played out the rest of the year in Charlotte. He didn’t get another big league look, but he has maintained his spot on the White Sox’s 40-man roster. The 29-year-old is entering his final minor league option year, meaning the Sox can shuttle him back and forth between Chicago and Charlotte this season as needed.
He’ll first need to recover from a procedure that’s seemingly in line to cost him around two months. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Sox place him on the 60-day injured list in the event that a 40-man roster spot is needed to accommodate some other move.