Chicago White Sox

White Sox view Carson Fulmer's September as a tryout for 2018

White Sox view Carson Fulmer's September as a tryout for 2018

Carson Fulmer did not make a good first impression as a starting pitcher in the majors. However, his effort on Sunday could go a long way to help make his case for a White Sox roster spot in 2018.

Fulmer picked up the win in his second career MLB start against the Giants. He pitched six innings and gave up one run while striking out nine.

That's a far cry from his first major league start, on Aug. 21, when Fulmer gave up six runs and didn't last two innings. Fulmer went back to Triple-A Charlotte after that start, but rejoined the White Sox when rosters expanded in September. Manager Rick Renteria explained that what Fulmer shows the team in September will be used to evaluate his potential for the team next season.

"Fulmer right now is gonna be pitching so that we can continue to assess what we can do with him for the upcoming season," Renteria said. "It would be fair to say that, whether it's in relief or starting, I think getting him the innings that he can get right now in this particular time is just important. For us to be able to see him and see what he's capable of doing hopefully for the next couple of starts and maybe he gets a lot more beneift out of it. For us, putting our eyes on him in September is a little bit better than doing it in the spring. Right now, it's still in the flow of the season and we can see where he's at."

Fulmer was used exclusively as a reliever in his brief time with the White Sox last season. This year he has made two starts and two relief appearances. With Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito looking like future staples of the White Sox rotation, and a slew of high-level pitching prospects pushing their way to the majors, Fulmer doesn't have a big window to show his value as a starter to the team.

"As long as we win that's all that matters to me," Fulmer said. "I'll do any role for our team and you just have to be able to go in any situation and get your team out of it. Obviously for me I like to start games and go as long as I can. I talked to Ricky and our management. My job is to come to the field prepared each day to take care of a job and that's what I'm going to do."

Between what Renteria and Fulmer said, it sounds like what Fulmer does the rest of this season will be viewed as a tryout. If Fulmer continues to hurl quality starts like he did on Sunday, perhaps he will have a chance at the White Sox rotation in 2018.

Fulmer allowed a home run to Jarrett Parker in the second inning, which gave the Giants an early lead. The White Sox supported Fulmer with a five-run bottom half. Fulmer settled down, limiting the Giants to three hits and three walks in his six innings of work. He said after the start that he "was able to command everything that I had."

The Vanderbilt product is still adjusting to life in the majors on and off the field, but is hoping more starts like Sunday's will prove his worth to the White Sox.

"I've worked my whole life to get here and I'm a competitor," Fulmer said. "I want to have success here, along with the rest of my teammates. It's a learning experience for me. I've been up here for a little while, but I want to stick. I want to do everything I can to continue to have a spot on this team. We have something special here. The clubhouse is great. The veteran guys, they're helping us guys settle in pretty good. It's a great time to be here right now and I think that we'll all continue to grow and move forward."

Chris Volstad earns first MLB victory in five seasons as White Sox top Astros

Chris Volstad earns first MLB victory in five seasons as White Sox top Astros

HOUSTON -- Two weeks ago Chris Volstad was focused on Hurricane Irma prep when the White Sox called to invite him to the majors. On Thursday night, he earned his first major league victory in more than five years as the White Sox defeated the Houston Astros 3-1 at Minute Maid Park.

Volstad, who had only made 10 big league appearances the previous four-plus seasons and spent all of 2017 at Triple-A Charlotte, allowed a run in 4 1/3 innings to pick up his first win since Sept. 10, 2012.

He hadn’t just shut it down after the Triple-A season ended, Volstad was actually shuttering his Jupiter, Fla. home and business the day the short-handed White Sox called.

“I was probably a little mentally shut down,” Volstad said. “But yeah, it’s kind of crazy how things can change. I guess it’s been about two weeks now. At home getting ready for a hurricane and then getting called back up to the big leagues.”

Volstad received word he might pitch early in Thursday’s game when a blister on Carson Fulmer’s right index finger worsened. Fulmer felt some discomfort after his Friday start at Detroit.

The White Sox let Fulmer try to go but yanked him after 20 pitches, including two walks. That brought out Volstad, who along with Al Alburquerque was promoted Sept. 10 after the White Sox lost several pitchers to injury.

The White Sox actually had to track Volstad down two weeks ago as he’d already been home for a week. He spent part of the time prepping for Irma, including boarding up his brewery.

He escaped a first-inning jam with a double play ball of the bat of Carlos Correa and ended a threat in the second with a pickoff at second base of Alex Bregman. After he surrendered a solo homer to Brian McCann in the third, Volstad retired the final eight men he faced.

[MORE: Why the White Sox are optimistic about their middle infielders' potential

He was awarded his first victory since he defeated Thursday’s Astros starter Dallas Keuchel 1,836 days ago here. Volstad remembered the win because Houston was still in the National League and he had a base hit in the five-inning start for the Cubs. He went 3-12 for the Cubs that season.

“You’re able to lock it in pretty quickly and get focused at the big-league level, you have to,” Volstad said. “But being home in Triple-A for the last few years, just getting called up about 10 days ago, I’ve got people following it, but it’s kind of unknown I guess. It’s a little surprising, but I’m glad to be a part of a team for sure.”

Fulmer, Volstad, Jace Fry, Mike Pelfrey, Gregory Infante, Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar and Juan Minaya combined on a three-hitter for the White Sox. Tim Anderson extended his hit streak to 12 games with a ninth-inning solo homer, his 17th.

White Sox add two cross checkers to amateur scouting department

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White Sox add two cross checkers to amateur scouting department

The White Sox hired two new national amateur scouting cross checkers, Tim Bittner and Juan Alvarez.

Bittner was a one-time White Sox farmhand who was included in a package for Scott Schoeneweis in 2003 while Alvarez was an undrafted pitcher who pitched in 80 major league games for the Angels, Rangers and Marlins from 1999-2003.

Bittner previously worked as a Houston Astros area scout while Alvarez held the same role for the Cleveland Indians. They replace Joe Siers, who moved over to the team’s pro scouting staff, and Mike Ledna, who took a job with the New York Mets.

“Both are very smart guys with playing experience,” amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. “And they’re also coming from two clubs with a lot of recent success.

“I want to add as many smart, passionate, high-energy scouts to what I feel is a department already filled with scouts that check those boxes.”

The White Sox expect to have at least a top-four selection in the 2018 amateur draft. They headed into Thursday’s game with the second-worst record in the majors. Hostetler praised the 2018 draft class for its depth earlier this week.