Charlie Tilson on injury: ‘It’s killing me’

PEORIA, Ariz. — The reality for Charlie Tilson is harsh.

And painful, in more ways than one.

Given the inside track on being the Opening Day center fielder for the White Sox, a team he grew up rooting for in north suburban Wilmette, Tilson is losing another battle to an injury, this one a stress reaction in his right foot that will land him on the disabled list when the season opens.
“It’s killing me,” Tilson said Tuesday. “I just have to step back and take care of myself. I don’t want to be a negative distraction.”

Tilson hoped time off his foot — he has done very little since the right foot started giving him trouble, believed to be the result of rehabbing his left hamstring — would make things right. But there has been no progress, and now he finds himself in a walking boot. He also has crutches.

“The frustrating part is there are very few ways to expedite that healing,” he said. “I thought the time off would help my leg to recover and give it some life as I started to run again.”

Charlie Tilson. (Photo credit: Ron Vesely)

A second MRI showed no stress fracture, which was good news. It supported the original diagnosis of a stress reaction, but in that stage the bone structure is becoming weaker but does not actually contain a fracture. All Tilson can do now is rest, and be patient.

The disappointment, as you might imagine, was painfully evident as Tilson stood up and talked to reporters Tuesday morning.

“You have look at yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself,” he said. ” When I was out there I wasn’t necessarily up to speed. My foot trending the way it was, it’s a reality you’ve gotta face.”

Tilson was acquired before the trade deadline last season from the Cardinals in exchange for left-hander Zach Duke.

Giolito KO’d in first

Prospect Lucas Giolito faced eight batters and couldn’t finish the first inning, allowing four runs on four hits and two walks. The Mariners opened the first with three straight singles. Giolito walked two straight batters, including Mike Zunino on four pitches.

Rodon close to game appearance

Left-hander Carlos Rodon, who is easing into the season at a slower pace than most, threw 64 pitches against mostly minor leaguers in a simulated game. Rodon threw all of his pitches and got up and down four times.

“Everything felt good,” he said.

Rodon is eager to face hitters in real game circumstances. Manager Rick Renteria, who said he expects Rodon to throw one more simulated game before getting in a Cactus League game, saw Rodon’s last 10 pitches and said “he had pretty good life. [Pitching coach Don Cooper] was really happy with how he looked.”

“Yeah, I just want to get in a game,” Rodon said said.

Quintana returns

All-Star left-hander Jose Quintana returned from Miami, where he reeled off 5 2/3 no-hit innings against Team USA for Colombia, which led 2-0 when Quintana exited but eventually lost.

Renteria stopped short of naming Quintana his Opening Day starter, perhaps because his name is the subject of trade discussions.

“As we move forward we’ll see where it ends up landing,” Renteria said. “I don’t really think about – you mentioned if he’s still here – I don’t think about those things. He’s here and we’re happy to have him.”

Renteria said Quintana’s performance in the WBC “put him on the map a little bit more because it’s a larger scale in terms of notoriety and the audience.””He’s obviously an excellent pitcher. He’s a big time pitcher. We’re happy that he’s with us.”

Fulmer has work to do

Carson Fulmer gave up four runs on seven hits against the Indians Monday, and while Renteria said the 2015 No. 8 draft pick has improved command, he also said Fulmer “has some work to do” and will likely begin the season at AAA Charlotte.

Fulmer pitched in relief when called up last season and allowed 11 runs (all earned) over 11 2/3 innings. He has started three Cactus League games and allowed seven runs on 13 hits over 10 2/3 innings.