The White Sox announced Monday that they’ve selected the contract of outfielder Charlie Tilson from Triple-A Charlotte and, in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, transferred righty Nate Jones from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list. Jones, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets, has a flexor pronator strain in his right forearm. Chicago also reinstated right-hander Ryan Burr from the 10-day IL. Tilson and Burr will take over the active roster spots of center fielder Adam Engel and lefty Caleb Frare, who have each been optioned to Triple-A.
Tilson was once a rather promising outfield prospect for the South Siders (and the Cardinals before them), but he suffered a torn hamstring in his MLB debut in 2016 and missed the remainder of the season. A stress reaction in Tilson’s ankle in 2017 ultimately resulted in an ankle fracture in 2017, limiting Tilson to just seven games in the Arizona Fall League. His 2018 campaign was a disappointment both in Triple-A and in more limited MLB action, and Tilson was ultimately outrighted off the 40-man roster.
This season, however, the 26-year-old is off to a blistering start in Charlotte. Through 111 trips to the plate, Tilson has raked at a .333/.396/.475 pace with a homer, seven doubles, two triples and three steals. His .410 average on balls in play is a clear indicator of some impending regression, but Tilson is walking at a career-best 10 percent clip and collecting more extra-base hits at a career-high rate as well. Given that Engel has posted a dreadful .207/.262/.316 slash in 857 big league plate appearances dating back to 2017, there’s little harm in seeing if Tilson can provide a meaningful upgrade.
As for Jones, the injury is the latest in a long line of maladies for the talented 33-year-old. There’s little debating that a healthy version of Jones is a potential wipeout reliever; in his past 141 2/3 innings in the Majors, he’s pitched to a 2.67 ERA and averaged ten and a half strikeouts per nine innings pitched while averaging nearly 97 mph on his fastball. Unfortunately for both Jones and the White Sox, those 141 2/3 innings have been scattered across five seasons, 2019 included, because of arm troubles. Most notably, he missed the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery and then underwent surgery to re-position the ulnar nerve in his right arm in 2017. There’s no clear timetable for his return right now, but he was placed on the 10-day IL on April 28, meaning he’ll be sidelined for at least 60 days from that point forth.