Marlins place Burger on IL with left intercostal muscle strain

April 15th, 2024

MIAMI -- The Marlins' lineup took a hit after placing third baseman on the 10-day injured list with a left intercostal muscle strain ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Giants. In a corresponding move, infielder was recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville.

Burger leads the club with 15 RBIs, which was tied for seventh among all Major Leaguers entering Monday. Since joining the Marlins in a Trade Deadline move last August, he has slashed .286/.338/.486 with 15 doubles, 12 homers and 43 RBIs in 69 games.

"He's our middle-of-the-order bat that is one of the leaders in RBIs," manager Skip Schumaker said. "We want him up in leverage spots. He's been really, really good. I think even defensively he's been good at first and third, kind of moved him around. We're trying to move him to first to third to DH to make him available for 162 [games], and stuff like this happens."

Burger, who was replaced in the top of the fourth inning of Sunday afternoon’s 9-7 loss to the Braves at loanDepot park, felt the discomfort on his first swing against right-hander Charlie Morton and then while running down the line on his first-inning groundout. The discomfort resurfaced ranging to his right, fielding a grounder and attempting a throw across his body in the third.

The 28-year-old Burger, who underwent an MRI on Sunday night, was experiencing the same amount of discomfort on Monday as he did on Sunday. Burger compared the feeling to the left oblique strain he sustained last season as a member of the White Sox. After being placed on the 10-day IL on May 4, Burger began a rehab assignment a week later and was activated on May 14.

"[Head athletic trainer] Lee Meyer and I feel pretty optimistic about it," Burger said Monday. "It doesn't seem to be worse than what we thought, so just trying to get back as quick as I can. It's just focusing on controlling the pain as much as I can. It doesn't seem to affect a lot of the daily living activities, so that's positive, but obviously, it's all symptom-based and how it feels. These are always tricky, these type of muscles, because you can't really test it until you're in a game and check swinging and whatnot. For me, I want to make it as short as possible, and hopefully be back at that 10-day mark. But a lot of it's symptom-based and see how it feels."

According to Schumaker, Emmanuel Rivera will get the bulk of the third-base reps in Burger's absence. Lopez and Vidal Bruján, who was available off the bench on Monday after exiting Sunday's game with right knee patellar tendinitis, will also fill in on occasion. Rivera started at first and Lopez at third for the series opener against San Francisco, with Schumaker turning to his lineup against left-handed starters.

Miami claimed Lopez, who hasn't appeared in the Majors since 2022, off waivers from San Francisco on April 4. He can play shortstop, second and third base. With Bruján banged-up, the Marlins wanted a backup shortstop option. Plus, there have been few hotter bats at Triple-A, where Lopez went 15-for-27 (.556) with four doubles and two homers in seven games with Jacksonville.

"See the ball and hit it," Lopez said. "I don't think too much. I'm trying to just go to play and just hit the ball, and whatever happens, I just go from there."