Jake Burger is ready to get his pro career cooking after two memorable weeks that were highlighted by a Paul Konerko phone call and batting practice with the big club.
The latter took place at Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday afternoon when Burger -- the 11th overall pick of the June 12 amateur draft -- was introduced by the White Sox. Burger hit in the second group with Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia and Melky Cabrera.
The Konerko call took place shortly after the White Sox drafted Burger out of Missouri State. He received a text that someone from the organization would be trying to get a hold of him. The caller identified himself only as “Paul” and Burger immediately knew he was talking to his favorite player, the one who made him a White Sox fan in the first place.
“I didn’t know it was going to be Paul Konerko,” Burger said. “Pick up the phone and he’s, ‘Hey Jake, it’s Paul' and I’m like ‘OK.’ He gave great advice, said keep my number and call me whenever you need it.
“The main thing I took from it was you’re going to be in a season that’s six months long. You’ll have two great months, two bad months and two above average months, you’re going to have a great season. Don’t let down times get you down too much. And always outwork the guy next to you.”
The guys around Burger on Monday were Todd Frazier, Tim Anderson and Geovany Soto, all of whom gave the first-rounder a hard time in a playful manner. Burger’s batting practice session -- in front of more than a dozen photographers -- picked up steam during his third round in the cage. Burger displayed his 55-grade power and began to launch fly balls deep to left, some coming within several rows of reaching the concourse.
“I was nervous,” Burger said. “I got one out and it was second nature after that.”
Burger, who received a $3.7-million signing bonus, is headed to the team’s year-round facility in Glendale, Ariz. on Tuesday. From there he’s expected to join Single-A Kannapolis.
Burger is anxious to get back on the field.
“Felt like forever since I played and it’s only been 10 days since the Super Regional,” Burger said. “I’m ready to get going.”