White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The leading candidate to be the team’s starting center fielder, Charlie Tilson has been temporarily shut down after suffering a stress reaction in his right foot.

The White Sox rookie said Sunday that he noticed the injury gradually building up before he decided to stop his workout on Friday and headed for the training room. An MRI performed Saturday on Tilson -- who is rehabbing from a torn left hamstring that ended his 2016 season early -- revealed the reaction, which isn’t severe as a stress fracture. Given Tilson previously had a stress fracture in his right foot, the White Sox said he'll be sidelined from impact work for 10 days, at which point he’d be re-evaluated.

“It started very minimal, and I tried to work through it a little bit, and by the time I addressed Herm, thankfully I caught it before it was anything that would keep me out for too long,” Tilson said. “It’s a minor thing, and it will give my other leg a chance to get stronger in the meantime, and hopefully we’ll turn this negative into a positive.”

Tilson wouldn’t be surprised if his injury is related to overcompensating for his left leg, which he has worked tirelessly to rehab since he suffered the injury on Aug. 2 and then had season-ending surgery. Manager Rick Renteria described it as an “irritation” in the area where Tilson suffered a stress fracture in 2013. In the interim, the White Sox will test some of their other options in camp, including veteran Peter Bourjos and minor leaguers Adam Engel and Jacob May, among others.

“But we don’t foresee it to be a long-term issue,” Renteria said. “By being able to shut him down now, it’ll be something he’ll be able to recover from. We’ll just readjust his timetable.”

Minor as Tilson and the White Sox say it is, the outfielder admitted he’s down about having to deal with it after the progress he’d made in his rehab.

The White Sox acquired the New Trier High School product from the St. Louis Cardinals last July in exchange for left-hander Zach Duke. Tilson was immediately called up as the White Sox intended to try him out in center field the rest of the season. But he suffered a season-ending injury in his major league debut while tracking down a fly ball and had surgery several days later.

Tilson made enough progress to be a full participant in a hitter’s camp at Camelback Ranch last month. Earlier this week, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Tilson was a top candidate to take over as the club’s starting center fielder if he was healthy.

“I guess you could say I’m disappointed,” Tilson said. “But it’s a very minor setback and it’s part of the process. I had a major repair, and these things come up and hopefully we can minimize them as much as we can and hopefully this is the last one. But I’m just going to deal with it and do whatever I can to move forward.”

Davidson, Tilson set for spring training after unlucky White Sox debuts

Davidson, Tilson set for spring training after unlucky White Sox debuts

Two of the White Sox players hit by some of the worst luck imaginable have made good progress this winter and should be ready to compete for spots in Rick Renteria's starting lineup when pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch next week. 

Infielder/designated hitter Matt Davidson, who broke a bone in his foot in his White Sox debut last June, and outfielder Charlie Tilson, who tore his hamstring in his major league debut last August, both offered optimistic assessments of their respective recovery processes at SoxFest last month. 

Davidson delivered an RBI single in his second at-bat with the White Sox June 30, which was his first major league appearance since 2013. But at some point while running the bases after that hit, he fractured a bone in his foot, which required surgery and sidelined him for the rest of 2016. 

The White Sox acquired the 25-year-old Davidson from the Arizona Diamondbacks in December of 2013 for right-hander Addison Reed, but the former top 100 prospect struggled in his first two years in the White Sox system. Davidson improved during his third season with Triple-A Charlotte last year, hitting .268/.349/.444 and earning his first promotion to Chicago after 75 games. 

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Davidson will be in White Sox mix at designated hitter in 2017. He had an X-Ray on his foot in late January and said he's been feeling 100 percent since the middle of December. 

Tilson will enter spring training as the favorite to start in center field on Opening Day despite getting just two major league at-bats before suffering that season-ending injury in Detroit. Tilson, who the White Sox acquired for left-hander Zach Duke last July, singled in his first career at-bat and hit .293 with a .346 on-base percentage and 89 stolen bases in five minor league seasons spent in the St. Louis Cardinals' farm system. 

"I like to think a setback is a setup for a comeback," Tilson said. "I tried to harness all that energy and move it toward rehab. I've been progressing really well."

Charlie Tilson cherishes the story of Miguel Cabrera and his first major league hit

Charlie Tilson cherishes the story of Miguel Cabrera and his first major league hit

In just one game, Charlie Tilson experienced both a career high and low last August. 

Tilson singled in his first major league at-bat off Detroit Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez on Aug. 2 at Comerica Park. The 24-year-old center fielder, who emulated Scott Podsednik's playing style while growing up a White Sox fan in Wilmette, wasn't able to publicly share what that moment was like, though, as he tore his hamstring chasing down a Miguel Cabrera fly ball in the fifth inning. That injury ruled Tilson out for the rest of the 2016 season only halfway into his big league debut. 

At SoxFest last weekend, though, Tilson shared how neat a moment his first career hit was, though, thanks in part to Cabrera. 

The Tigers All-Star was playing first base that day and immediately called for the ball to be thrown to him from the outfield so he could toss it to the White Sox dugout for saving. It was a gracious move, but one that only happened so quickly because Cabrera knew the game was Tilson's debut. This was with the Tigers squarely in a playoff race and the White Sox lagging on the outside looking in, too. 

"(Cabrera) patted me on the back, said congratulations," Tilson said. "What a class act — that's a guy who, at one point, I was a kid idolizing him. For him to even understand that was my first hit, as soon as it went through the hole, he started signaling to bring it in. He's very much in tune and genuine and that's a memory I'll cherish forever."

Tilson said he's progressed well in his rehab from that brutally ill-timed injury and should be in a position to compete for a spot in the White Sox lineup when spring training begins later this month. He's probably not destined to become a more accomplished Moonlight Graham, but that story of meeting Cabrera at first base is one he'll be telling for years. 

"What an incredible talent," Tilson said. "I had a chance to go meet up with my high school coach when I was back home and he was just saying that, how about the fact for your first hit you got to meeting a living legend like that. I mean, he'll go down as one of the best hitters of all time. He doesn't forget about the little guy, obviously. That was super cool."