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Levine: Charlie Tilson's Injury Is An Early Downer For The White Sox

By Bruce Levine--

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Center fielder and lead-off man hopeful Charlie Tilson injured his right foot Friday, marking the first significant injury at White Sox spring training.

An MRI on Saturday revealed that Tilson suffered a stress reaction in the foot. A stress reaction isn't a fracture, but it can lead to one if not properly treated.

The plan is to rest the 24-year-old Tilson, a Wilmette native, for a minimum of 10 days.

The White Sox projected Tilson to be their center fielder and lead-off man on Opening Day. If the stress reaction heals quickly, Tilson could resume baseball activity within a couple of weeks, and that plan could still become a reality.

Tilson was previously drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round of the 2011 amateur draft. He was traded to Chicago for reliever Zach Duke last July.

But in his first game with the White Sox in the big leagues, Tilson tore his left hamstring. Now he's dealing with another ailment.

Medically, a stress reaction to a leg can occur when a person tries to compensate for a previous injury.

"We don't see this as a long-term issue," manager Rick Renteria said. "I think by being proactive early, we can cut down on any major problem."

The plan to use Tilson as one of the transition players is part of the team's new movement toward a rebuild. After trading outfielder Adam Eaton in December, the White Sox turned their attention to developing new position players like Tilson and others.

Tilson sustained a broken left ankle in 2013 while playing in the minor leagues for St. Louis.

"I guess you can say I am disappointed," Tilson said Sunday. "We think it's a very minor setback -- I will do whatever I can to move forward."

Tilson will continue to condition his whole body, with the exception of weight-bearing exercises on his right leg. The fact that he was compensating after his hamstring repair could have triggered the current reaction in his right foot, a process Tilson is aware of.

"Bearing proper amounts of weight is part of the process," he said. "That is a lot of what the rehab is. We have been very proactive about it -- we will move forward from here."

Legs are a big part of Tilson's game, as he's expected to be a base-stealing threat and quality defensive outfielder.

"I should be hitting and playing catch soon," Tilson said. "I am going to stay positive and move forward. I will be just fine."

Other center field candidates in White Sox camp include Peter Bourjos, Jacob May, Adam Engel and Leury Garcia.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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