White Sox

White Sox: Carson Fulmer to start Monday's intrasquad game

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White Sox: Carson Fulmer to start Monday's intrasquad game

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While he could end up a reliever in the long run, Carson Fulmer officially begins his career as a starting pitcher.

The 2015 White Sox first-rounder received a pair of starting assignments for the upcoming week. He is set to start in Monday’s intrasquad game opposite prospect Tyler Danish.

Fulmer is also on the schedule to face the Kansas City Royals on Saturday in the team’s third Cactus League game.

John Danks is listed as the starter for Thursday’s exhibition opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jacob Turner is set to pitch on Friday against the Cleveland Indians.

“I’ve always wanted to be a starter,” Fulmer said. “I relieved early on in college, became a starter later, and now I’m having an opportunity to start here. It’s a good opportunity. I’ll get to face some good talent, obviously, and I’m just looking forward to the experience.”

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The No. 8 overall pick in last June’s draft, Fulmer made nine starts last season, including eight at Single-A Winston-Salem. He finished the season with a 1.96 ERA in 23 innings, striking out 26. Some wonder whether or not Fulmer can stick as a starting pitcher. Others, including fellow Vanderbilt pitcher David Price, believe that Fulmer could be a major league reliever right now.

Fulmer is likely to start the season in Double-A Birmingham’s rotation. He looks forward to the week ahead.

“It will be great,” Fulmer said. “It’s a new opportunity to go out there and just pitch. I’m definitely looking forward to it, and I’ll see what happens.

“I really don’t know what to expect (Saturday). I have to keep the game simple and go out there and try to give us the best chance to win.”

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

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USA TODAY

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

For the first time since new rules came into effect in 2005, the White Sox will reportedly see a major league player suspended for violating baseball’s ban on performance-enhancing drugs.

Welington Castillo, the team’s biggest offseason addition, will be suspended for 80 games, according to a pair of reports.

Manager Rick Renteria said after Wednesday's win over the visiting Baltimore Orioles that he couldn't comment on the reports. Castillo played in Wednesday's game, during which the news broke.

"For me, those at this particular moment are rumors," Renteria said. "MLB is the one that is in charge of that type of stuff. Until they release anything officially I can’t really comment on that."

The veteran catcher, slashing .267/.309/.466 with six home runs and 15 RBIs in 33 games this season, was brought in over the winter to help the rebuilding White Sox in both the short and long term. He had a career year offensively and defensively in 2017, and he was acquired to help develop a young pitching staff featuring big pieces of the future like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, and also to swing a solid bat and help this young team learn how to win.

If Castillo proves productive over the course of his two-year deal, the White Sox have a team option that could keep Castillo on the South Side for the 2020 season. That could make him a piece of the puzzle for when the rebuild reaches its apex and the team is ready to start contending for championships. But this news has the potential to change that dramatically.

Zack Collins and Seby Zavala are both having strong offensive seasons at Double-A Birmingham and figure to be the long-term answers behind the plate. But Castillo’s absence from any long-term picture could leave the White Sox without a veteran safety net in the years ahead, depending on how the team decides to react to this news now and in the coming seasons.

Castillo’s absence for the next 80 games could also have an impact on the development of aforementioned pitchers like Giolito and Lopez. Lopez, in particular, has been throwing really well this season, and Giolito has control issues to work through, as he leads the American League in walks. Without the veteran catcher brought in to help those guys transition to the major league level, how will the transition change for those two pitchers?

Omar Narvaez would be the logical choice to take over as the No. 1 catcher. As for who could take Castillo's place on the major league roster, the options are limited. Kevan Smith, who was edged out by Narvaez for the backup-catching job in spring training, is on the disabled list at Triple-A Charlotte, placed there Tuesday. The aforementioned Zavala is also injured at Double-A Birmingham, and it seems far too early to rush Collins to the big leagues. Alfredo Gonzalez is a catcher on the roster at Charlotte. A spot on the 40-man roster would need to be freed up to bring him to Chicago.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects. 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: