Slugging Jake Burger can’t find way into White Sox’ everyday lineup

“Just know that if he’s not playing, that if it’s Sheets or somebody else playing, that’s a better matchup that particular day,” manager Pedro Grifol said.

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The White Sox’ Jake Burger hit a walk-off grand slam against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

The White Sox’ Jake Burger hit a walk-off grand slam against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

NEW YORK — Jake Burger hit a walk-off grand slam Sunday against one of the toughest right-handed relievers in the majors, the Tigers’ Alex Lange. Entering Tuesday, he had a .265/.317/.606 batting line with a .923 OPS. His 12 homers were one behind team leader Luis Robert Jr., who has 95 more plate appearances.

Eight of his home runs are against right-handed pitchers, in 93 plate appearances.

As manager Pedro Grifol said Tuesday, the White Sox are always one Burger swing away from a crooked number.

Yet there Burger was Tuesday, on Grifol’s bench when the Sox opened an important three-game series against the Yankees.

He was smiling, as always. Not that he liked not starting.

“We know what kind of talent we have in here,” Burger said. “This is the first time we’re fully healthy. You want to be playing every day. You want to help the team. That’s how we go about it. Hopefully come up with some clutch hits.”

Burger is a third baseman by trade, but Yoan Moncada, even though he’s not producing, isn’t moving from third. That means Burger probably is best suited to be designated hitter. When Eloy Jimenez plays right field, the DH spot is between Burger and the left-handed-hitting Gavin Sheets, who got the nod in right Tuesday, with Jimenez as DH against Yankees right-hander Clarke Schmidt.

“I’m not going to sit there and explain why,” Grifol said. “Just know that if [Burger isn’t] playing, that if it’s Sheets or somebody else playing, that’s a better matchup that particular day. We’re going to put the best matchup out there. And that’s a good problem to have.

“To provide what Burger provides, who doesn’t want Burger in the lineup? I want him, too. However, we only have nine spots. And it’s really not nine spots because he can’t catch, play shortstop or center field.”

Burger played two innings at second base last week, but he’s no Gold Glove, even at his best position.

Sheets can relate to any frustration he’s feeling because he has experienced it, too.

“He gets big at-bats and he comes out and shows off and hits walk-offs and does great things,” Sheets said. “Obviously he’s handling it as best as he can. He wants to be in there every day and . . . he’s swinging the bat extremely well. You control what you can, and when he gets his at-bats, he makes the most of it.

“We feed off each other, we talk to each other, we vent to each other. But it’s just about controlling what you can control and not letting it affect you on a daily basis.”

Venting helps, Sheets said.

“No doubt — just being a safe place for each other,” he said. “Say what’s on your mind and get it out and know you have the best pinch-hitter in the locker room not playing. If I’m not playing, I might have the most important at-bat of the day. The frustration before the game can’t seep into the ninth inning.”

This and that

- Veteran outfielder Billy Hamilton, on the injured list with a strained left hamstring strain since May 10, began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte.

- Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was out of the lineup with a sore big toe after crashing into the wall Saturday at Dodger Stadium. The Yankees put him on the IL after the Sox’ 3-2 win Tuesday.

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