White Sox

Charlie Tilson optioned to Triple-A, adding a bit of clarity to race for White Sox center field job

Who's going to be the White Sox everyday center fielder?

That question doesn't have an answer yet, but the situation got a bit clearer Tuesday morning, when the White Sox optioned Charlie Tilson to Triple-A Charlotte.

Tilson figured to be a candidate for center field, getting back to full strength after missing almost the entirety of his White Sox tenure with injuries. But he'll apparently at least start the season in Charlotte after getting three hits in 18 at-bats during the White Sox first couple weeks of Cactus League action.

This bodes well for Adam Engel, who's been on a recent hot streak in Arizona, picking up four of hits and a pair of homers in his last two spring training games.

Engel's glove was never in question last season, when he made 91 starts in center field for the White Sox, but he struggled at the plate, slashing a woeful .166/.235/.282.

Who knows if Engel's recent tear will carry through the remainder of spring training or into the regular season — almost the totality of his spring production has come in just two games. But with Tilson getting sent down, Engel's spot on the roster appears safe, even if in a backup role.

Leury Garcia could potentially still prevent Engel from starting in center. Garcia played there last year before injuries brought an end to his 2017 campaign. He hit much better than Engel, slashing .270/.316/.423 with nine homers in just 87 games.

But Garcia's versatility as an infielder and outfielder means Engel could still see plenty of time as Garcia bounces around the diamond to spell the everyday infielders.

Another option in center field could be Ryan Cordell, who boasts four hits, including a triple, and four walks in six spring games so far.

In addition to Tilson's optioning, relief pitcher Thyago Vieira was also optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. Jake Burger, Dylan Covey, Jordan Guerrero, Michael Ynoa and Alfredo Gonzalez were all reassigned to minor league camp.

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