GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carson Fulmer feels accomplished as his first spring training came to an end.
Not only does he feel more comfortable about pitching to major leaguers, the White Sox first-rounder has added a few new pitches. That’s about all he could have asked for when he arrived here last month. Fulmer, who is expected to start the season at Double-A Birmingham, allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings on Saturday in a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Fulmer, who was reassigned to minor-league camp after the game, had a 4.85 ERA in 12 2/3 innings this spring.
“I’ve learned so much,” Fulmer said. “Coming here for my first time, you don’t what to expect. The biggest thing you have to take out of the whole thing and the right mindset you’ve got to have is, you’ve got to learn from the guys that had so much success and some experience in the clubhouse and on the field. I’ve learned so much. I feel like I get better each day I’m here at the field and it’s a great opportunity to help advance my skills and mindsets each and every day.”
Fulmer used the occasion to impress his new team.
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Pitching coach Don Cooper said last week that Fulmer is already ahead of where Carlos Rodon was at this point last year. That’s in part because Fulmer has added a cut-fastball and a split-changeup to his repertoire. But Fulmer, the No. 8 pick in the draft out of Vanderbilt, has also impressed the White Sox with his work ethic and how he has handled himself.
“He’s a mature kid, and that’s the first thing you notice with him,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Coming from a big school and the notoriety, he’s a very humble kid, very focused, mature, smart. You can’t really go there unless you’re pretty intelligent. He’s showing all of that and has some talent. He’s an impressive guy to get.
“He’s at all of the games. He’s trying to absorb as much as he can.”
Before this spring Fulmer had never thrown a cutter. But he worked with Cooper and tried a few different grips, settling on one. That prompted Fulmer to use the pitch — one that gives hitters yet another look to figure out — on Sunday against Oakland when he threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
Fulmer intends to keep using the pitch. The addition could have him back with the White Sox before he knows it, especially if a need were to arrive.
“Spinning the baseball has been something I’ve been able to do most of my career,” Fulmer said. “It’s not easy, but I’ve felt good doing it.
“That’s the only time I’ve really thrown it. I’m feeling more and more comfortable each day that I throw it and I feel like it’s going to be a pitch that I can utilize pretty much every outing.”
Jose Abreu and Tyler Saladino homered in the loss for the White Sox. Austin Jackson had an RBI single and Saladino hit a sac fly.
Jake Petricka struck out two in two scoreless innings. Zach Putnam posted a scoreless inning, too.
Dan Jennings allowed two earned runs and four hits in 2/3 innings.