Aaron Boone sides with Yermin Mercedes in Tony La Russa’s ‘unwritten rule’ rant

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa hasn’t found a lot of support in the aftermath of his criticism of his own player for swinging at a 3-0 pitch against a position player and Aaron Boone came down on the other side, as well.

“I really didn’t have an issue with it,’’ Boone said Wednesday of Yermin Mercedes’ homer on a 3-0 pitch from Minnesota Twins position player Willians Astudillo late in a lopsided game on Monday.

“The other night, you’ve got a position player throwing lobs,’’ Boone said of Astudillo. “Do you want [Mercedes] to sit there and take?”

Boone added his stance might be different in a blowout if a pitcher were still on the mound, but “once a position player is in there, you can’t really fault anyone for anything.”

The controversy, which has caused a rift even in La Russa’s own clubhouse, might be solved with a plan Boone talked about nearly two years ago.

“I do think there’s a sportsmanship element to it that’s important,’’ Boone said.

That brought Boone back to what he called the “run rule,” where if a team led by 10 or more runs after the seventh inning, the game would end. He mentioned it in 2019 after using Mike Ford and Austin Romine to pitch in games that season.

If such a rule existed, Boone said, it might also eliminate some of the “unwritten rules” about swinging away at pitches or stealing a base in a blowout and risking angering the opposing team.

“If everyone’s fighting to get to that 10-run [lead] by the seventh inning … then you don’t have to worry and we’re just playing,’’ Boone said. “I’m not saying I’m for it. I’m saying it’s worth discussing.”

The idea hardly sounds as revolutionary now as it did in 2019, with seven-inning games routine in doubleheaders and other rules having been implemented that have altered the game — especially since the pandemic began last year.

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