Charlie Tilson is back in action this week for the White Sox just five months after he needed season-ending surgery to repair a torn left hamstring.
The White Sox rookie outfielder is a participant at the team's hitters minicamp in Glendale, Ariz. alongside top prospect Yoan Moncada and 2016 first-round pick Zack Collins, among others. Tilson's action at the three-day camp at Camelback Ranch is his first since the local-product suffered the significant injury in the middle of his major league debut on Aug. 3 in Detroit. The centerfielder had to be helped off the field after trying to run down a fly ball in the right-center field gap only a few innings after he picked up his first big league hit.
"I can’t complain," Tilson said. "The rehab process has been going good. I'm still working through it. I'm able to pretty much compete and participate in everything, but there's still some barriers I've got to break. So I'm taking it one day at a time. But I'm really confident in the timeline I've got right now and hopefully I can get out here early and make an impact for the team."
The White Sox acquired the speedy Tilson from the St. Louis Cardinals in late July in exchange for left-handed reliever Zach Duke. The team intended to give Tilson a two-month tryout to see if he was worthy of being the club's everyday centerfielder in 2017.
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At the time, Tilson was thrilled for the opportunity to start for his favorite childhood team. Though he was initially disappointed by the news, Tilson afforded himself a few days to feel bad before he determined it was time to refocus his efforts. He's hopeful that the strong desire to return the field he displayed during his rehab will have him ready for spring training. The team holds its first full-squad workout on Feb. 18.
"Obviously it was a shame getting injured in that first game, but it's part of the game," Tilson said. "It's the nature of the game and those things happen and my whole focus has been 'How can I work through this and put myself in the best position to help this team out?' I'm taking it in stride and appreciating the opportunity I had for sure. Being able to get out there in Detroit and get my first hit in front of my family, incredible experience. Memories I won't forget.
"I let myself maybe feel bad for myself for a quick moment. But you've got to collect yourself and you've got to get back on your feet.
"After that moment I just decided to put all my energy and focus towards working to get back and I'm in a pretty good spot right now."