White Sox

Carson Fulmer gaining confidence in White Sox camp

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Carson Fulmer gaining confidence in White Sox camp

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carson Fulmer’s jitters haven’t gone away, but the White Sox 2015 first round pick is starting to feel more comfortable as he works through major league lineups during spring training.

Well, through one major league lineup — both of Fulmer’s Cactus League starts have come against the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals. He allowed one run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts Thursday at Camelback Ranch, facing a lineup headlined by Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez.

“The butterflies are still there from getting amped up for a start,” Fulmer said. “I felt more comfortable with it. It was my second time facing them and I’m getting a good feel of how the pace of a game goes."

The White Sox, right now, don’t see Fulmer in their 2016 plans, though they certainly aren’t ruling out the Vanderbilt product forcing the issue this summer. He excelled in 23 innings — a small sample size, of course — last year, posting a 1.96 ERA with 26 strikeouts, nine walks and two home runs allowed.

If and when Fulmer does reach the major leagues, his experience in these spring training games could come in handy. Specifically on Thursday, he fell behind Hosmer to lead off the second inning, worked back to a 3-2 count and then walked the Royals first baseman on a fastball in off the plate that he called a “great miss.”

“He has a good eye for pitches like that and let it go,” Fulmer said. “He’s a disciplined hitter and one of the best in the game. “For me, I can build off of that so next time I face him, hopefully I have a different mindset going into it. I took a lot from that at-bat.”

[MORE: Tim Anderson returns to White Sox camp a new father]

The walk wasn’t ideal, of course, but that fastball was a more aggressive miss in the spot he wanted to throw it. Fulmer said he’s growing to understand that having a top-quality arsenal of pitches — as he does — isn’t enough to make it at the major league level.

“If you don’t have an approach and don’t place it in the right spot, you’re going to get hit,” Fulmer said. “Attacking early, getting ahead obviously is the job of a pitcher, but quality pitches in the zone and putting it in the zone where they’re going to take swings at it.”

The Royals roughed up Fulmer for three runs on five hits in two innings on Saturday, so his start Thursday can be considered an improvement results-wise. There were a couple of hard-hit outs in there, though the run he gave up came on a bloop double, wild pitch and errant throw to third base.

While manager Robin Ventura traveled to Surprise for the other half of the White Sox split squad action Thursday, he said before leaving Camelback Ranch that he hoped Fulmer would be a little calmer his second time out.

“Hopefully it can just be a little easier,” Ventura said. “Last time he was out there he was amped up. Even for our guys, Carlos (Rodon) last year, it gets a little easier as they go out more times and have the opportunity to go out there and relax a little bit."

[SHOP: Gear up for the season ahead, White Sox fans!]

At this nascent juncture in his career, every start will bring something new for Fulmer. But he already felt more settled in spring training start No. 2, which comes across as a small-yet-positive step in his overall development.

“I feel like I’m getting really comfortable with it each time I go out there,” Fulmer said. “I’ll just take the positives from this outing and move forward on to the next.” 

Tim Anderson likely heading to injured list as White Sox await MRI result

Tim Anderson likely heading to injured list as White Sox await MRI result

Tim Anderson's status beyond having an ankle sprain is still unknown as the White Sox await the results of an MRI.

The South Side shortstop sparked fears among fans when he was helped off the field with an ankle injury during Tuesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Anderson landed awkwardly while throwing on the run on the rain-soaked infield in Boston. He fell to the ground in pain and needed assistance getting off the field, to the dugout and into the clubhouse. He was slated for an MRI early Wednesday in Boston as the White Sox for prepping for the series finale against former mate Chris Sale.

Anderson was reported as being in a walking boot Wednesday. The team announced Tuesday night that X-rays were negative and that he had been diagnosed with an ankle sprain. While the injury could still lead to a long layoff, that was a bit of good news, at least, but his long-term status is still unknown.

Manager Rick Renteria had little in the way of new information when he spoke to reporters Tuesday night and against Wednesday morning, but he acknowledged that Anderson is in all likelihood heading to the injured list.

"He's getting checked out still today," Renteria said. "Probably, in all likelihood, he goes on the injured list. In terms of how long it is, we don't know yet. We know that further examination will give us more information."

In another rebuilding season, losing Anderson for an extended period of time wouldn't figure to be the difference between the White Sox being in a playoff race or not come the end of the regular season. But it certainly wouldn't be good for the long-term future of the team, which has looked capable of starting to open its contention window as soon as the 2020 season, as Anderson would figure to have to spend a significant amount of time working his way back from a significant injury.

As for what Renteria and the White Sox will do in the short term, the manager said he can lean on the versatile Leury Garcia, as well as Jose Rondon, to fill the hole at shortstop. Garcia has been the White Sox everyday center fielder all season long but has the versatility to play on the infield. Rondon has disappointed offensively but could be considered the proverbial "next man up" if Anderson misses any time. Renteria could also mix and match, playing Garcia both in the outfield and on the infield and using other reserves elsewhere. The return of Jon Jay helps the White Sox in this case, too.

"Right now, I'm looking to use Leroy there for a little bit," Renteria told reporters Wednesday in Boston. "Obviously he's very capable of playing shortstop. And quite honestly, might give him a little break. His legs have been barking a little bit, it might help him out a little bit to bring him into the infield. We'll be able to use (Ryan) Cordell and (Charlie Tilson) in the outfield, and then we'll see how we mix in the DH spot for all of these guys, try to give them as many at-bats as possible. That's the adjustment we'll make at the moment."

It's still a scary time for the team and the fan base as all parties await the news on Anderson.

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Tim Anderson helped off field with ankle sprain, will be reevaluated Wednesday

Tim Anderson helped off field with ankle sprain, will be reevaluated Wednesday

White Sox fans saw a sight they hoped they'd never see Tuesday night.

Tim Anderson was helped off the field with an ankle injury in the fifth inning of Tuesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, hurt while making a play on a ground ball on a wet night in Massachusetts.

The White Sox announced later in the evening that Anderson has a sprained ankle and that X-rays were negative. The team added that Anderson will be reevaluated Wednesday.

Anderson made an on-the-run throw to nab J.D. Martinez at first base, but a play that Anderson has made look fairly routine over the past couple seasons this time included a slip on the rain-soaked infield. The White Sox star shortstop fell to the ground in pain immediately. After having his ankle briefly checked by the trainer, Anderson was helped off the field, into the dugout and into the clubhouse.

The rain poured down on Fenway Park on Tuesday night. The start of the game was delayed a half hour, but the teams played through steady rains throughout, worsening playing conditions, something the White Sox and every team across baseball have had to deal with quite often this season.

The degree of Anderson's ankle sprain is unknown, but the sight of him coming off the field was a nightmarish one for the White Sox and their fans. A sigh of relief came with the team's update, which did not include the words "Achilles" or "tear."

Anderson has emerged as one of the faces of the franchise this season, earning AL Player of the Month honors after a sensational April and earning national attention for flipping his bat after home runs and his mission to make what he calls a "boring" game more fun. He's got a .317/.342/.491 slash line on the season.

Anderson is undoubtedly a core piece for the rebuilding White Sox, who can pen him in as their shortstop of the future as well as the present.

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