GLENDALE, Ariz. — Charlie Tilson, the White Sox’ top candidate to open the season in center field, suffered his second setback since coming to the organization from the St. Louis Cardinals.
On Friday, a day before the first scheduled full-squad workout, Tilson was derailed by a stress reaction in his right foot. Tilson and manager Rick Renteria are calling the injury minor, but he will be shut down from impact activity for 10 days.
“I had a stress fracture in my right foot previously [in 2013], which made it a little alarming for me,’’ Tilson said. “But fortunately I was able to catch it before anything like that happened.’’
Tilson, 24, has had his share of physical setbacks. He tore his left hamstring during his Sox debut last season in Detroit and had season-ending surgery, and compensating for that might have caused this most recent problem. As a Cardinals prospect in 2012, he needed surgery after injuring his right (non-throwing) shoulder diving for a ball.
The Sox acquired Tilson, a New Trier grad, for left-hander Zach Duke before the trade deadline. He’s their 11th-ranked prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.
“I still have very little doubt I’ll be able to get back out there and be ready to play,’’ Tilson said.
Behind Tilson, the Sox have veteran Peter Bourjos, Leury Garcia, Jacob May and Adam Engel on their center-field depth chart.
Put me in, Coach
Bourjos can go get the ball, and he can still play center field, he said.
The fleet 29-year-old former Angel, Cardinal and Phillie was signed to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training in January, a depth move that looked especially good when the Sox’ first injury of spring training occurred.
“I got that question a lot because I played right last year [with the Phillies],’’ Bourjos said. “But they didn’t want to move Odubel [Herrera] out of center and mess with him. I still feel like I was just as good as I was in Anaheim in center. I just haven’t played very much.’’
Bourjos, who will be paid $1.35 million if he makes the team, also wants to help younger outfielders such as Tilson, whom he has played with in the Cards’ spring camp. Bourjos produced a .251/.292/.389 slash line in 383 plate appearances with the Phillies last season, near his career norms.
“Come in here, have a good spring training and see what happens,’’ he said. “On a minor-league deal, that’s the only thing you can do. If it’s not here, it’s somewhere else.’’
Renteria said Avisail Garcia, who has struggled defensively in right field, will be the guy out there. But Garcia also figures to DH some.
“I’m looking to see if Avi can settle into right field,’’ Renteria said. “He’s another individual that we would use in that DH slot in the swing role. But I hope that we can get him more playing time in right and see if he’s able to perform the way everybody hopes and [how] he was expected to previously.’’