MLB: Marlins’ Jake Burger gets reunion vs. White Sox

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Holiday weekends often are a chance for old friends to catch up.

That will be the case for Miami Marlins infielder Jake Burger, who will face his former teammates for the first time when the Chicago White Sox visit for a three-game series beginning Friday night.

Burger, drafted in the first round (No. 11 overall) by the White Sox in 2017, made his major league debut in 2021 and went on to play 154 games for Chicago. He hit .230 with a .791 OPS during his time with the White Sox.

He was acquired by the Marlins last Aug. 1, and he batted .303 with an .860 OPS in 53 games with Miami last year.

It’s been a slower go, though, during his first full season in South Florida. The 28-year-old St. Louis native is batting .217 with a career-low .606 OPS. He has eight homers and 28 RBIs.

“I’ve had a great support system through this,” Burger said this week. “Obviously, nobody wants to go through underperforming, but the support system I’ve had with the guys in the cage, this coaching staff, and then obviously my family has been huge.”

He might need even more support after striking out in all five of his at-bats Thursday as the Marlins lost 6-5 in 12 innings to the Boston Red Sox. Burger joined the Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Jones as the only batters in the majors with a five-whiff game this year.

The Marlins, as a team, are going through similar struggles. After losing three straight to visiting Boston, Miami is tied with Colorado for the worst record in the National League.

The Marlins rallied twice to tie Thursday’s game — in the eighth and 11th innings — and pulled within one in the 12th but couldn’t complete the comeback.

Miami has dropped four straight and five of the past six games.

Bryan Hoeing (0-0, 1.83 ERA), who has been out since sustaining a left hamstring strain on May 1, is expected to come off the injured list to make his first start of the season for the Marlins on Friday.

The right-hander earned the win in his lone career appearance against the White Sox, a scoreless one-inning outing on June 11, 2023.

Chicago arrives in Miami on the heels of its third loss in the past four games after a three-game winning streak. The White Sox fell 8-4 to the host Cleveland Guardians on Thursday, sealing their ninth straight road series defeat. Chicago is 9-35 away from home this season.

The White Sox would love to see a return to form from Eloy Jimenez. After posting double-digit homer totals in each of his first five major league seasons, including 31 as a rookie in 2019, the designated hitter has just five long balls this year.

Dealing with injuries hasn’t helped. The 27-year-old Dominican Republic native, who has played in only 46 of Chicago’s 89 games, was sidelined earlier this year due to an adductor strain and recently returned from a left hamstring strain.

“I’ve done it before, and I know it’s going to happen,” Jimenez said, according to MLB.com, of regaining his swing. “After you come back, especially when I was playing (on a rehab assignment) in Arizona, it’s way different down there. Down there, it’s easier to hit. Here, it’s the big leagues. This is a process, and I know it’s going to be hard. But I’m going to be there. I’m working really hard every single day to be back.”

White Sox rookie right-hander Drew Thorpe (2-1, 4.43 ERA) will take the mound on Friday to face the Marlins for the first time in his career. He is coming off wins in back-to-back starts, as he allowed a total of two runs in 12 innings against the Detroit Tigers and the Rockies.

–Field Level Media

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