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Burger focused on playing 3B for White Sox

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Jake Burger has been thinking of himself as a third baseman since he was four years old.

The White Sox top pick in the 2017 Draft believes he will stay at third for the long term, even with rumblings of potential interest in Manny Machado rolling throughout SoxFest this weekend at the Hilton Chicago.

CHICAGO -- Jake Burger has been thinking of himself as a third baseman since he was four years old.

The White Sox top pick in the 2017 Draft believes he will stay at third for the long term, even with rumblings of potential interest in Manny Machado rolling throughout SoxFest this weekend at the Hilton Chicago.

"It's my favorite position and I love it," said Burger, ranked as the club's No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline. "I've shown I can play it, too, especially to some of the guys higher up. If they are taking a chance on me, I'm going to do everything I can to stay over there."

Burger's primary focus during his upcoming first full Minor League season falls upon nothing more than continued improvement.

"At this point you have to do your own thing," Burger said. "If you are swinging it well and playing well, they will find a position for you. You just have to play the game the right way and do what you can to help the squad you are on at the moment."

Abreu looking at total improvement
Jose Abreu didn't invoke the "best shape of my life" clause during SoxFest interviews this weekend. But the White Sox leader dropped 10 pounds during this offseason.

"I was working hard," Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo. "I was working hard and spending time with my family, eating healthy, and that's why."

Abreu also stressed an improvement of his direct verbal communication as a clubhouse leader.

"My English is probably not so good right now, but I'm trying to get better in that aspect," Abreu said. "I'm pretty sure I'm going to be better this year in how I can influence all of them in the clubhouse.

"That's one of my goals. I started on it last year and this year I'm going to be more able to do it with more confidence."

Thome, all-around Hall of Famer
Here's one more story about Jim Thome's Hall of Fame character, going along with his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, delivered by general manager Rick Hahn.

"We've hired some young kids into our department in the last eight to 12 months and they were around when it became official Jimmy got in," Hahn said. "Both of them spontaneously shared stories about [how] during a game, Jimmy asked them what their thoughts were about hitting.

"Another one was talking about how he stayed back during the Winter Meetings, and Jimmy came by and stopped in his office to just chat for a little while about baseball. Both had to pinch themselves that 'I'm having this conversation with Jim Thome.' That's how generous of a guy he is and how kind of an individual he is."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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