CLEVELAND -- Carson Fulmer is headed back to the minors to become a starter once again.
During Fulmer’s month in the majors, White Sox manager Robin Ventura often stressed how he wanted the rookie pitcher to learn to pitch one batter and one inning at a time. They wanted him to understand the importance of command and that even though he has good stuff, he has to be sharp to be successful. The White Sox also wanted to take Fulmer, the No. 8 pick of the 2015 draft, out of his comfort zone by throwing him in the bullpen.
As they optioned him back to Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday night, their hope is he’ll take the lessons learned and apply them to starting pitching. The White Sox will promote pitcher Anthony Ranaudo on Wednesday in Fulmer’s stead.
“He got a taste for it,” Ventura said. “When he comes up here and he’s relieving, which isn’t really normal to him, that’s something he’s trying to get used to. Some of it is you go and you’re facing major league hitters and you learn to adjust and you learn that they can hit a fastball. These guys can hit. He ended up scrambling to a point to where he figured out how to locate. I think his last couple have been better. Now I’d like to see him get stretched out a little bit and there might be a possibility down the road he gets a start when he comes back.”
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Promoted July 15, Fulmer appeared in eight games and has an 8.49 ERA in 11 2/3 innings. Even though he likes late-innings situations and many scouts believe he profiles well for the role, Fulmer struggled early. He allowed seven earned runs in an inning over two outings, including four runs to the Cubs on July 27. But Fulmer showed improvement in his past two outings, allowed two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.
“I think that broadening my horizon and really being as a reliever, being in those situations in tight games, this will do nothing but help me in the future,” Fulmer said. “So, you know I will always continue to learn and have experience.”
Fulmer doesn’t expect it would take long to stretch out. He throws regularly and thinks it will be easy to build up the necessary arm strength. Part of the move is also to get Fulmer more innings this season. Between Charlotte and the majors, Fulmer has thrown 98 2/3 innings. Ventura said there’s a possibility that Fulmer could return to the big leagues in September and even the potential for starting assignments.
Fulmer and Ventura think his experience out of the ‘pen should help the right-hander for whatever is asked of him in the near term.
“I think in a lot of ways you’ve got to be able to adjust, adapt and get after it,” Ventura said. “That’s part of coming up here and facing major league hitters. He wasn’t going to necessarily be in the rotation, but you at least get a taste of facing major league hitters and that’s the biggest thing. You get to see what it’s all about.”