Carson Fulmer takes shots but he’s ‘starting to punch right back’

SHARE Carson Fulmer takes shots but he’s ‘starting to punch right back’

Carson Fulmer pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field on August 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Orioles defeated the White Sox 10-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Carson Fulmer’s high motor can run too hot, he admits. The good thing is he’s learning when to lay off the accelerator.

“The game can speed up for me sometimes and I have to slow it down,’’ the White Sox’ 2015 first-round draft pick said Wedensday. “That’s why I’ve had a little success lately. Take those two deep breaths after I throw a ball and I’m 2-0 in a count. Being able to control the game in that aspect and get myself back into good counts.

“There are times to reach for more and there are times to just get ahead and throw a strike. It’s part of the learning experience.’’

Fulmer, 22, pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Orioles Sunday, his third outing without allowing a run along with his first two. In between, Fulmer was scored on four straight times. In the scoreless outings he allowed no walks. In the others, he walked at least one.

“The more repetitions I get, I’m starting to figure it out a little,’’ Fulmer said. “It’s hard to come into the big leagues and have success right away. I’m taking some punches but I’m starting to punch right back.’’

For Fulmer, the No. 8 overall pick who was a College World Series hero at Vanderbilt, navigating his way through major league hitters is a whole new world.

“You face experienced hitters in pro ball, guys who have seen very good pitching for a long time,’’ he said. “They know tendencies, a pitcher’s strengths and you look at that and say, all I can do is throw strike one and be capable of throwing any of your pitches in any count.’’

Fulmer’s four plus-pitches make him an exciting commodity. Commanding them – he walked 60 batters in 110 minor league innings – is a work in progress. The Sox are bringing Fulmer along through the bullpen and will likely give him a couple of starts before the end of the season. Some say he profiles as a reliever, but the Sox didn’t use an eighth overall pick with a bullpen piece in mind.

“They’re throwing me in situations that I need to learn if I’m going to make that transition,’’ Fulmer said.

Watching the Burdi

Hard-throwing right-hander Zach Burdi, one of the Sox’ two first-round draft picks in June, was promoted to AAA Charlotte from AA Birmingham after throwing 9 1/3 straight scoreless innings over six relief appearances. The Downers Grove native is averaging 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings over three minor league stops, including 22 strikeouts over his last nine outings covering 14 innings.

Morneau back in the saddle

Designated hitter Justin Morneau was batting .300 with three homers in his first 20 games after going 4-for-5 Tuesday, his bounce-back from elbow surgery all but complete.

“For it to come back as quick as it did, I think it was a little surprising the way it worked,’’ said the former AL MVP who signed a one-year deal with the Sox.

Morneau, 35, wouldn’t commit to playing beyond this season but he’s enjoying being able to perform again. It seems he would want to, but if the Sox rebuild during the offseason it could be elsewhere.

“I’ve been able to do things I wanted to do, so I’ll make that decision at a later point,’’ Morneau said. “But for right now it has been fun.’’

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