It’s not the news that the Chicago White Sox wanted to hear this past weekend but unfortunately it’s reality. And that news is that outfielder Charlie Tilson will be in a walking boot for at least another three weeks as he continues to struggle with a stress reaction in his right foot. Making matters worse is that depending on his recovery and rehab, Tilson may not see the field until May. Tilson, who was traded over from the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system last year, hasn’t seen the field much during the White Sox portion of his career.
When the 24-year-old made his big league debut against the Detroit Tigers last August, he tore his hamstring while trying to run down a fly ball. The injury required season-ending surgery. This latest injury happened when Tilson was doing rehab work on that same hamstring at the White Sox spring training facility in Arizona earlier this month. He was the front runner for the starting center fielder’s job in the wake of the Adam Eaton trade.
“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,” Tilson said in an interview with MLB.com.
The good thing is that the White Sox have options for center field until Tilson is cleared to play. The two players that are standing out at the moment are Jacob May (.364/.386/.950 Cactus League slash line) and Peter Bourjos (.313/.340/.861). May is the son of former Major League player Lee May Jr. The 25-year-old has never been on a big league roster, but Tilson’s injury just might give him that chance. Bourjos on the other hand applied his trade with the Los Angeles Angels, St. Louis Cardinals, and Philadelphia Phillies before the White Sox signed him this past offseason.
Both men have been performing well in the batters box in Arizona as they’ve combined for 35 hits, six runs batted in, and five stolen bases. The other candidate for the job is utility man Leury Garcia who’s been with the team since 2013. He has solid defensive skills and he can play in the infield in addition to the outfield. Garcia’s also had a decent spring training as his slash line currently stands at .339/.356/.785 along with 10 RBI’s and two stolen bases.
If all three men make the 25-man roster, and if they can carry their preseason success over to the regular season, they can at least provide a stop-gap until Tilson is healthy again.