White Sox manager told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn't believe there's any divide in the team's clubhouse following Yermín Mercedes's homer in Mondays' 16–4 blowout against the Twins, according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers.
Despite La Russa's claims, there has certainly been a divide between his reaction and his players' reactions to Mercedes's home run.
Shortstop Tim Anderson offered support for Mercedes on social media, while pitchers Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito backed the rookie when asked about the situation by reporters in the days that followed. La Russa, however, remains dug in on his stance regarding his designated hitter's decision to swing at a 3-0 pitch from a position player pitching during a blowout win.
"If you're going to tell me that sportsmanship and the respect for the game of baseball and respect for your opponent is not an important priority, I can't disagree with you more," La Russa said, per Rogers. "... You think you need more [runs] to win, you keep pushing. If you think you have enough, respect the game and opposition. Sportsmanship."
Lynn offered his perspective on Tuesday, saying that any courtesy takes in a 3-0 count while the game is out of reach get thrown out the window if a position player is pitching. La Russa flatly rejected Lynn's read on the situation.
"Lance has a locker; I have an office," La Russa said. "I would be willing to bet that there wasn't anyone in that clubhouse that was upset that I mentioned that's not the way we compete. If someone felt that way, then it's my job to correct it. You don't swing 3–0 when you're up by that big a lead."
La Russa's firm stance was evident even after Twins pitcher Tyler Duffey threw behind Mercedes in Tuesday's game, with the 76-year-old manager saying he had "no problem" with how Minnesota handled the situation. Both Duffey and Twins manager Rocco Baldelli were ejected from the game.
Despite the events of the past two days and the mounting evidence of players disagreeing with La Russa's stance, the manager expressed some surprise Wednesday that the incident was still a topic of conversation.
"I'm surprised I'm getting so many questions on this," La Russa said. "It's not much to-do about nothing. It's much to-do about a little bit."
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