SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The biggest benefactor of the Peter Bourjos trade is Jacob May, who is set to take over as the White Sox starting center fielder.
The White Sox completed a deal on Tuesday that sent Bourjos to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations or a player to be named later.
The move not only assures May that he'll be on the Opening Day roster, but the White Sox prospect should see significant playing time with Bourjos out of the picture. Manager Rick Renteria said May's all-out play this spring earned him the opportunity to play at least five days a week. May went 2-for-4 with a run for the White Sox in a 7-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium on Tuesday.
"I don't think it does us any good to bring up a young person like that and just sit him," Renteria said. "He would have to be a person that's going to end up playing a significant amount of time in center field.
"Jacob really ran with (the opportunity) a little bit. Defended really, really well, had some good at-bats."
A third-round pick out of Coastal Carolina in 2013, May has a strong baseball bloodline. His grandfather Lee May blasted 354 home runs in an 18-year career and his great uncle Carlos May was a two-time All-Star for the White Sox. May received congratulations from both on Tuesday morning.
But Jacob May entered camp below Charlie Tilson and Bourjos in the pecking order. Tilson was expected to get the first shot to be the starter until he experienced setbacks in his rehab, which opened the door for May. May said he used his underdog status as motivation and dazzled the White Sox with an array of nice catches and plus speed on the bases. A switch hitter, May entered Tuesday's contest hitting .339/.361/.525 with six extra-base hits and four steals in 61 plate appearances.
"I had nothing to lose," May said. "Honestly I came into this spring feeling personally as a darkhorse in this whole thing. Not someone that is really talked about a lot, which is fine with me. I don't really care about that stuff. It gave me a little chip on my shoulder. People didn't expect too much from me. I know the organization knows what I'm capable of doing, which is all that really matters."
May's performance made the White Sox comfortable enough to move Bourjos. He said initially heard from friends and family after word of the Bourjos deal spread late Monday night. But May didn't officially find out until he was pulled into Renteria's office on Tuesday morning and was informed of his new status.
Though May said the news is bittersweet because Bourjos mentored him this spring and became a friend, he couldn't help but smile.
"It's still kind of a little bit of mixed feelings," May said. "He's one of your friends and a teammate...
"I mean, my whole life I've been dreaming about this. Since I was a little kid, I've been around locker room and around players. It's a little surreal."