Tony La Russa: Jake Burger’s tenacity an asset for the White Sox

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Jake burger deserves praise for his perseverance, and the manager of the White Sox Tony La Russa added more praise on Sunday.

“Getting to know the guys, reading about our players, when I saw Jake Burger, and read about him, I was like, ‘Wow. These are really great obstacles and I certainly can’t expect him to be very sharp, ”said La Russa. “Then he comes to camp and you see him come over here and he’s playing like a productive big leaguer, and then you remember what he’s been through for the last three years. It’s incredible.”

The Sox’s 2017 first-round pick, Burger missed the 2018 and 2019 seasons with injury, and has also struggled with anxiety and depression. But Burger was a .322 / .368 / .596 hitter with 10 homers at Triple-A Charlotte and was called up on July 2. Coming into Sunday’s game – as he hits sixth and plays third – Burger hits .400 and that is one day removed from his first major league homer.

“I think that says a lot about his talent,” La Russa said. “But I’ve said it before: in this game you have to be strong mentally and physically, whether you are a player or a team. He has that tenacity which is a huge asset. I don’t know how he deals with these setbacks.

“He’s in sixth place today for our game against a very good team, so you know what we think of him.”

Lopez is back
Not so long ago, Reynaldo López was considered part of the rotation of the Sox of the future. Now he’s trying to contribute in any way he can for the Sox, who called him back on Friday from Charlotte.

“My goal right now is just to help the team win games,” Lopez said through a translator. “It doesn’t matter what the role is. No matter where they want to use me, I know I have to perform and do my best. I’m not trying to be a starter or a lifter; I’m just looking to help this team in any role they need me to.

Optioned on the alternate site on March 22, Lopez had spent the entire season in Charlotte, compiling a record of 1-6 and a 7.62 ERA. But the Sox brought him back anyway, and he pitched two scoreless innings on Friday in his 2021 debut.

“I thought he threw it freely and easily, the ball came out of his hand really well,” said La Russa. “The gun had it in the upper 90s. I saw two different steps. I saw a delivery that he repeated and who was in charge. Very impressed, we were all impressed.

Lopez is a candidate to start one of Monday’s doubles schedule games with the Twins. Michael kopech, if he does not pitch Sunday, is another.

Fresh out of his contract extension, Lance Lynn is scheduled to start one of the games.


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