White Sox

White Sox: Carson Fulmer accomplished much before reassignment


White Sox: Carson Fulmer accomplished much before reassignment

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.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

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.

[MORE: Todd Frazier has found niche in White Sox clubhouse]

“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.

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season


It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.