GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox rookie third baseman Jake Burger, one of the brightest stars in a loaded farm system, has a ruptured left Achilles tendon and will undergo season-ending surgery on Thursday in Chicago."When something like this happens, you have a decision to make," Burger said Tuesday morning. "You
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox rookie third baseman Jake Burger, one of the brightest stars in a loaded farm system, has a ruptured left Achilles tendon and will undergo season-ending surgery on Thursday in Chicago.
"When something like this happens, you have a decision to make," Burger said Tuesday morning. "You can either kind of mope around and be disappointed in it, or you can take it as a positive thing and look at it as a positive. It's kind of an extended offseason, you know?"
Burger was in a walking boot Tuesday morning at Camelback Ranch after being injured while running out a ground ball in the bottom of the third inning against the A's on Monday.
"Running down to first, just -- I mean, honestly, it felt like a gunshot," Burger said. "I went down and I kind of immediately knew something was wrong, but there's nothing really to say. It [stinks], but I have to stay positive."
Burger, who was Chicago's first-round Draft pick in 2017 and the club's No. 10 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was off to a solid start in his first Major League camp. He doubled in two at-bats before the injury and was hitting .286. He had a triple against the Mariners on Saturday.
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"He's a positive kid," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He's looking to get himself ready, take care of himself, do everything he's got to do to put himself back on the map. They'll fix that and hopefully in whatever it is -- seven, eight, nine months -- he'll be able to get back to some activity and get himself back on track.
"He's a pretty driven young man."
The White Sox took Burger with the 11th overall pick last June after a career at Missouri State in which he was one of the best power hitters in college baseball, hitting 43 home runs in his final two college seasons. Burger received a $3.7 million bonus and was added to a White Sox Minor League system flush with elite prospects, and he probably was ticketed to begin the season at Double-A Birmingham.
Burger said the time in Major League camp and the playing time had buoyed his confidence about the future.
"It gives you motivation for sure," Burger said. "That's another thing that's going to keep me going is I realize that I belong and that I can play. It only gives you motivation for next season. It's kind of hurry up and wait, but that's part of it."
Burger chatted with White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who suffered a similar injury in 2008.
"He was like, 'Look, man, it's a tough recovery, but you'll get back,'" Burger said. "He said he lost 30 pounds while going through it. I'm looking to that and looking forward to being back with my family for a couple of weeks."
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Burger found plenty of support from teammates who spent time with him Monday night, and from White Sox fans who tweeted him from around the country. He tweeted them back on Tuesday, saying, in part, "Words can't describe the love and support I've received from White Sox Nation, Bears Nation, friends and family!"
"[Outfielder] Charlie Tilson came over last night and brought me some GameCube games," Burger said. "He knows what it feels like to have something like this happen. It's been the support all around -- Missouri State fans have helped me through it. You just have to think of it positively.
"Where I can focus on nutrition, focus on my diet, focus on my body. I actually texted my academic guy back at Missouri State, and I'm going to go back for an inner-session course, get three hours in. All of that stuff keeps you going. But definitely the fans' outreach and support has been huge."
Burger hit .263 with five home runs and 10 doubles in 51 games between the Rookie-level AZL White Sox and Class A Kannapolis last season. He was invited to big league camp to help speed his comfort level with Major League baseball.
Asked if he was looking for an extra gear in the sprint to first base on Monday, Burger said, "I always try to get out of the box as hard as I can. That's the White Sox Way and that's the Missouri State Way. That's part of it. You don't imagine something like that happening, because I've come out of the box that way a thousand times. You don't expect something like that to happen, but obviously it did, and you gotta move forward."
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.