Rick Hahn met with the media today before the White Sox' matinee game against the Pirates. Considering the Sox started their homestand yesterday - a day that always includes a pregame presser from Hahn - it was clear this morning that something sudden happened with the team.
Jake Burger re tore his Achilles at his Arizona home. Had a second repair and is back to square 1 on rehab losing the last 10 weeks of progress
— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) May 9, 2018
Unfortunately, the sudden news was that the White Sox 2017 first round draft pick Jake Burger re-tore his Achilles tendon. After being drafted 11th overall last June, Burger spent a short season in Kannapolis where he slashed a .263/.335/.409 line. The Missouri State alum found his way up to #8 on the FutureSox top prospect list and #84 on Baseball Prospectus preseason Top 101. He was invited to Spring Training with the big league club and was showing well until he went down running out a grounder on February 26th. It was quickly learned that he ruptured his Achilles and that his surgery that took place on March 1st would be of the season-ending variety.
This injury, on its face, was referred to as "perplexing" for a 22-year-old according to one sports medical professional who has worked in MLB dugouts throughout his career. While there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding the injury, it is clear that Burger will now be out until at least May of 2019 as he restarts his rehabilitation.
Looking ahead, there really isn't much of an example to compare Burger's back-to-back Achilles tears too. Simply put, this isn't a chain of events you would expect to see happen to a healthy 22-year-old athlete. As such, we reached out to our contact with a wealth of experience as a medical professional in sports and he told us the following:
The big issue here is the quality of tissue left in his Achilles. The surgery is like trying to tie pieces of spaghetti together. Now the spaghetti is frayed as well. They may need to take tendon tissue from another part of the body or use synthetic tissue if the tissue quality isn't there. This isn't a ligament where it's a static structure. This tissue needs to have the contractile and flexibility to run and jump.
While our professional source gave insight on why this might be a concerning issue, the face of the White Sox baseball operations, Rick Hahn, expressed some optimism, "Lousy setback for a great kid who's been working hard," Hahn said. "But as was the case with the first repair, the expectation is there's to be no long-term effect on his baseball career." Our source did at least point out the positive that Burger has an advantage of being young and having good blood flow to the area.
In any case, it is a blow to the White Sox system and a tough turn of events for a young man who has no shortage of fans and supporters. We wish Jake the best in his recovery.
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