White Sox option Fulmer to stretch out in Triple-A

Club's No. 1 prospect to prepare for rotation role when he returns as September callup

White Sox option Fulmer to stretch out in Triple-A

CLEVELAND -- The debate as to whether Carson Fulmer, the White Sox top-rated prospect per MLBPipeline.com, is better suited as a reliever or starter will get another layer of argument in September.

Fulmer was sent back to Triple-A Charlotte following the White Sox 3-1 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night at Progressive Field. The move made way for Anthony Ranaudo to come up Wednesday and start against the American League Central leaders.

This move also allows Fulmer to get stretched out at Charlotte and then potentially become part of the September starting rotation after rosters expand. Fulmer, who made eight appearances out of the bullpen after starting 17 times for Double-A Birmingham and has thrown 98 2/3 innings overall this year, doesn't think it will take him long to get rotation-ready.

"Not long at all," said Fulmer, who was called up July 15. "I throw a ton every day, so I don't think that the arm conditioning point is going to get to where I need to feel more comfortable by any means. I just need to get more innings under my belt just to continue to learn and become a starter.

"You always want to stay here. What I want to do in life is be a big leaguer for a long time and stay at this level. The more reps I get, the more opportunities I'm going to be given as a starter or as a reliever. I'll definitely take those and move forward."

There are some who believe Fulmer, the team's top pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, was rushed to the Majors a bit as evidenced by his 8.49 ERA over 11 2/3 innings. Fulmer also was taken out of his comfort zone and put into a relief situation, where he had little previous knowledge.

But the 22-year-old takes this first callup for what it was: a good learning experience.

"As a pitcher, you are put in tight situations all the time," Fulmer said. "So, I think that broadening my horizon and really being, as a reliever, being in those situations in tight games, this will do nothing but help me in the future."

"In a lot of ways, you've got to be able to adjust, adapt and get after it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's part of coming up here and facing Major League hitters. He wasn't going to necessarily be in the rotation, but you at least get a taste of facing Major League hitters, and that's the biggest thing. You get to see what it's all about."

Shortstop Tim Anderson and reliever Chris Beck were part of the White Sox youth corps on display Tuesday. Fulmer will be back with them soon, in what looks like a new role.

"He ended up scrambling to a point to where he figured out how to locate," Ventura said. "His last couple outings have been better."

"Oh, man, it has been amazing," Fulmer said. "You learn a lot of things. And being around guys that have so much experience, you want to surround yourself with that as much as possible. I feel like, as a player, that's how you learn. I'll continue to learn and get better as a player."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.