Carson Fulmer’s future with the White Sox may be as a starter pitcher.
But given the health issues the Sox’ bullpen has experienced before they traded Zach Duke, Fulmer has been asked to adjust to fitting the reliever role to meet his team’s current leads.
Fulmer threw a career-high 2 1/3 scoreless innings in Sunday’s 10-2 loss to the Orioles. He allowed a pair of hits and struck out one as he continues to transition into his new duties after making 17 starts at Class AA Birmingham earlier this season.
“Obviously, I’m not really comfortable with the role that I’m because I haven’t done it very much,” Fulmer said Sunday. “But the more reps I get, the more comfortable I’m going to get and I’m definitely feeling that now.”
Fulmer said he has always been a pitcher who is used to throwing every day. The constant repetition has aided Fulmer as he attempts to be as effective as he can when he’s called upon.
He met that mark Sunday when he battled an Orioles’ lineup that had their way with starter James Shields and reliever Matt Albers, who combined to give up all 10 runs.
“We’ve been looking for (Fulmer) to step up and be able to go back-to-back innings,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I think that’s a nice little sign right there. (With) Michael (Ynoa) (it’s) the same way, to be able to finish that up. Once you get down like that you’re looking to fill some innings and those guys came in and filled them up.”
Despite the changes in his role, Fulmer, who said he has always had an affinity for big-pressure moments, was succinct in his feelings about his new bullpen surroundings.
“I love it,” Fulmer said. “I haven’t really done it that much but I like that situation. It kind of fits it a little better that way, but I’m definitely liking it.
Jose Abreu’s solo home run Sunday gave the Sox slugger his third homer in four games after he failed to homer in his previous 32 games. Abreu went 3-for-4 Sunday with a homer, single and double.
Ventura said the biggest difference he has seen lately is in Abreu’s hands.
“He just looks better,” Ventura said. “The way his bat’s coming through the zone, it’s a little quicker. Even though guys are going to continue to pitch him inside just like everybody else, he’s able to get to get to it, he’s able to still be on time, balance-wise, to be able to hit the outside pitch, too.”
CSN reported that Abreu will travel to Florida on Monday to see his son, Dariel, who is visiting the United States from Cuba for a month. Abreu left Cuba three years ago and was forced to leave his six-year-old son behind. Abreu will rejoin his teammates in Kansas City on Tuesday as the Sox begin a three-game series against the Royals.
Ventura said the Sox hope to get second baseman Brett Lawrie on a minor league rehab assignment soon, perhaps during the team’s upcoming nine-game road trip. Lawrie has been on the disabled list since July 27 (retroactive to July 22) with a strained left hamstring. Catcher Alex Avila is still having issues with his strained right hamstring. Ventura said Avila attempted to jog Saturday and was still experiencing discomfort and that he still isn’t ready to be sent out on a rehab assignment.
Before the Orioles’ Manny Machado belted three home runs in his first three at-bats Sunday, the last visiting player to hit three homers in a game was Sox designated hitter Justin Morneau. Morneau, then with the Twins, accomplished the feat in the second game of a doubleheader on July 6, 2007. Morneau went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Sunday.
Follow me on Twitter @JeffArnold_.