ANAHEIM, Calif. -- More reinforcements have arrived for the White Sox.
Prior to their second-half opener on Friday, the team activated veteran hitter Justin Morneau off the 15-day disabled list and promoted top prospect Carson Fulmer.
Winners in five of their last six series, the White Sox open a six-game road trip at the Los Angeles Angels at 9:10 pm CST on Friday. They begin a three-game series at the Seattle Mariners on Monday.
The White Sox (45-43) trail the Cleveland Indians by seven games in the American League Central. They’re also fifth in the wild-card race, 4 1/ 2 games behind Boston and Toronto.
Morneau went 4-for-23 with two RBIs on a rehab assignment between Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham. The first baseman also drew four walks had a .321 on-base percentage on the assignment, his first live action since last season. Morneau, who had elbow surgery on Dec. 22, thought he’d need between 20-30 plate appearances to get back his timing. He didn’t appear in the field on his eight-game assignment.
The addition of Morneau gives the White Sox offense another much-needed left-handed bat, one the team has sought since Adam LaRoche retired in March. The White Sox offense, which is averaging 4.18 runs per game, has been forced to go right-handed heavy against an AL Central loaded with right-handed starting pitchers.
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Meanwhile, Fulmer would appear to be here to bolster the club’s bullpen, which is short-handed after three pitchers suffered significant injuries.
Fulmer has recently turned his season around after a start in which he averaged 6.65 walks per nine innings. In his last seven starts, Fulmer has a 3.51 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 41 innings. He also has reduced his walk rate to 3.73 per nine.
The Vanderbilt-product pitched in Sunday’s All-Star Futures Game in San Diego, striking out two in a scoreless inning. A National League scout who had seen Fulmer at the height of his struggles and again on Sunday said the right-hander “looked much better.” He also thinks Fulmer could handle the transition to the bullpen if needed.
Fulmer thinks so, too.
“I’m a max effort guy,” Fulmer said on Sunday. “I do everything I do every time I go out there and I don’t think that transition will be that big of a difference. It’s the same game. You’re still facing hitters and I just try to keep the same approach every time I go out there. I don’t think it’ll be a big transition at all if that’s what they decide to do.”
The White Sox already are without the services of Zach Putnam, Jake Petricka and Daniel Webb. Putnam is trying to rehab his elbow but has mulled surgery. Petricka had hip surgery and is likely done for the season while Webb had reconstructive elbow surgery and won’t return until at least next year.