Tilson injury takes him out of center field picture
24-year-old out until at least late May due to stress reaction in foot
By Scott Merkin
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Charlie Tilson will be in a walking boot for the next three weeks after having the stress reaction in his right foot re-evaluated on Friday.
The White Sox center fielder encountered the latest injury during his rehab work from surgery to repair a torn left hamstring suffered in his lone big league game during the 2016 season. Although Tilson had done baseball work during Spring Training, the White Sox envision a late May or early June return after the left-handed hitter goes through considerable live game action.
"They told me it's likely going to be a little bit of a process from there," said Tilson, referring to life after the walking boot. "It's one of those things where you have to listen to your body. It may take more time than I would like, but the ultimate goal is to be sustainable and get myself back to where I need to be.
"It's the hand I'm dealt and I'm making the most of it, no doubt. I'm very fortunate that I have people around me who are doing everything they possibly can to help an unfortunate situation. But it's certainly part of the game."
Even before this latest examination, the White Sox weren't counting on Tilson at the start of the '17 season. The center field job appears to be between non-roster invite Peter Bourjos and Jacob May, the team's No. 26 prospect per MLBPipeline.com, although Leury Garcia can play center along with his infield responsibilities.
May entered Sunday's contest hitting .365 in Cactus League play but has only 83 games above Double-A on his resume. It would seem unlikely the switch-hitter breaks camp with the team unless he's playing every day.
"All of them have performed well," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "They had an opportunity to play and have at-bats and be on the other side of the diamond and do what they needed to do to make everybody aware of who they are."
Tilson will stay back in Arizona and continue his rehab work when the team breaks camp.
"You try to stay positive and stay optimistic and push," Tilson said. "That was my goal this offseason, and I had made a ton of progress. It was unfortunate what happened, but it doesn't necessarily surprise me.
"You have to collect yourself and do everything you can and move forward. It's what I owe to the fans, the organization, my coaches and everything. That's what I'm going to do."