GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Peter Bourjos liked the opportunity and the Spring Training geography presented by the White Sox in agreeing to a Minor League deal and non-roster invite with the team.
"It seemed like a good opportunity to make the team and hopefully get an opportunity to play a little bit where I just wouldn't be going in and hoping for 200 at-bats," Bourjos said. "Hopefully I can get as many at-bats as I did last year.
"We'll see how it goes. Then obviously I live here in Arizona, so having Spring Training … . We have two young kids, so not having to pack them up and go to Florida, especially on a Minor League deal, really was intriguing."
Bourjos had 383 plate appearances for the Phillies in 2016, hitting .251 with a .292 on-base percentage. He still believes offensive improvement is possible, and looks forward to getting back into center field defensively.
Rookie Charlie Tilson should at the very least split time with Bourjos in center, assuming Tilson is healthy. He rehabbed his way back from surgery to repair a torn left hamstring but had a minor setback at the start of camp with a stress reaction in his right foot that knocked him out for 10 days.
The two outfield candidates are familiar with each other from their days in St. Louis.
"I was watching the game on TV when he got hurt. I felt terrible for him," Bourjos said of Tilson. "I know he's a good kid and worked hard to get where he's gotten to. I think it's an opportunity to help those guys and help them reach their goals as players and reach their ceilings too."
With Tilson out, Bourjos will get a few more opportunities in the field. The same goes for Leury Garcia, Jacob May and Adam Engel. If Bourjos makes the Opening Day roster, he has a chance to return to Chicago where he was born and raised until he moved to Arizona in second grade.
"I'm kind of happy we lived here just because I was able to play a lot more outside, play baseball year-round," said Bourjos, who lives in Scottsdale. "I remember the snow and being cold."
White Sox Mini-camp begins
The White Sox Minor League mini-camp began Monday at Camelback Ranch, with 25 pitchers, seven catchers and select position players in attendance. The mini-camp will run until Minor League Spring Training starts on March 7.
"We like to have all of our starting pitchers out here just to lengthen them out properly, and obviously the catchers who will catch them," White Sox director of player development Chris Getz said. "And then some guys we just like to get out here a little bit earlier than normal.
"Some of these guys will back up Major League games, so we want to provide everything for them so they are prepared when they back up those games. Put them in a good position to have some success."
Renteria sticking to fundamentals
White Sox manager Rick Renteria has decided against having an intrasquad game or two leading up to Saturday's Cactus League opener against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.
"We are not going to scrimmage," Renteria said. "What we are going to do is try to continue to double up on some of our fundamentals to make sure that those guys are kind of squared away. Depends on who you talk to, but most players in terms of intrasquads and things of that nature, it's more apt to be the same thing as pitchers' BP. It's more for the pitcher than it is for the position player.
"Fortunately for us, these guys have been working pretty hard even prior to the two days of rain we got. Hopefully the weather will be good the next two or three days prior to the opening of the season and these guys are going to be able to get on the bases and do a little bit more that we need to cover."
Third to first
Renteria did not announce his Cactus League Game 1 starter. He chuckled when asked if he was ready to name an Opening Day starter for the White Sox.
Carlos Rodon played catch again Monday, but there was no date given for the southpaw's first bullpen. He figures to be held out of early Cactus League action in the plan to control his Spring Training work.
"We will just see where we are at," Renteria said. "I was looking at the schedule today and the calendar and I was thinking we are going to be here a while. Yes, it's possible."