White Sox’ Burger relishes return, hits game-winning HR originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Jake Burger could not recall hitting a home run off a pitch like the one Red Sox starter Rich Hill threw him on Wednesday.
“I don't know how I hit it so hard, either,” Burger said with a chuckle.
That pitch from Hill? A 67-mph slider.
Burger got all of it, sending it 444 feet into the night to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead over Boston in the fifth inning — ultimately the game’s final score.
“It felt good for sure,” Burger said of the drive that registered a 110 mph exit velocity.
And perhaps making it even sweeter is that it came after an interesting few weeks for Burger.
The White Sox optioned the 26-year-old to Triple-A Charlotte on May 9 in a corresponding move to Yoán Moncada coming off the injured list.
Burger’s stay with Charlotte was short-lived. The White Sox called him back up Tuesday after Luis Robert went on the COVID-related IL.
“I’ve experienced a little bit of the up and down grind and it’s not pleasant, but he keeps proving time and time again that he’s very effective at this level,” said Lucas Giolito, Wednesday’s Sox starter.
“Huge home run to give us the lead there. He’s been a wonderful teammate, he works his ass off. I look forward to seeing him contribute more.”
Outside of moving his belongings back and forth, Burger downplayed the notion it’s challenging being shuttled to and from Charlotte.
But he is savoring the opportunity to be able to play baseball after losing seasons in recent years due to major injuries, including tearing the same Achilles tendon twice.
“I want to play baseball, and I want to compete no matter where I'm at,” Burger said. “That's kind of how I take it.
“I hate referencing back to the three years I missed, but I was sitting on the couch for two and a half of those years. I'm going to put my best foot forward no matter where I'm at.
"I'm going to take every day as a blessing.”