Growing pains are an expected part of the Chicago White Sox’s rebuilding plan, but the first two weeks of spring training have been a bit extreme.
Last week, promising outfield prospect Micker Adolfo was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and a tear in the flexor muscle. Surgery is still possible at some point during the upcoming season, but Adolfo has been cleared to be the designated hitter with high Class A Winston-Salem.
Another outfielder, Eloy Jimenez, is dealing with a sore left knee. The Sox are being understandably cautious with Jimenez, who ranks No. 4 on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list.
The news out of training camp is much worse on third baseman Jake Burger, the White Sox’s first-round draft pick (No. 11 overall) last year out of Missouri State.
In Monday’s Cactus League game against the Athletics, Burger ruptured his left Achilles tendon running to first base after hitting a routine groundball.
He is scheduled to have surgery in Chicago on Thursday and is out for the season.
“Running down to first, honestly, it felt like a gunshot,” Burger told reporters at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday. “I knew immediately something was wrong. But there’s nothing really to say. It (stinks) and I just have to stay positive.”
After signing with the Sox last season, Burger played in 47 games for low A Kannapolis and batted .271/.335/.409 with 4 home runs and 27 RBI.
The 21-year-old prospect is trying to make the best of a bad situation.
“When something like this happens you have a decision to make,” Burger said. “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 off-season, you know? I can focus on nutrition, focus on my diet, focus on my body.”