Fulmer gets nod to start Cactus League opener

Fulmer gets nod to start Cactus League opener

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Carson Fulmer gets the honor of starting the White Sox Cactus League opener Saturday afternoon against the Dodgers, with a first pitch scheduled for 2:05 p.m. CT/1:05 MST at Camelback Ranch -- live on MLB.TV. Clayton Kershaw gets the call for the Dodgers.

"As a young player, you look up to people like that," said Fulmer of Kershaw. "It's great. I mean, I'm looking forward to it. Obviously it's an opportunity that I want and we'll see what happens."

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Jose Quintana is scheduled to start Sunday's home opener against the Rockies, and Lucas Giolito gets the call Monday against the Cubs in Mesa.

Fulmer, the organization's fifth-ranked prospect per MLBPipeline.com, posted an 8.49 ERA over eight relief appearances with the White Sox last season. He finished the '16 campaign strong, with one run allowed over his final 15 innings for Triple-A Charlotte, and will try to implement the changes made while being used as a starter during Cactus League action.

"I think that the difference between forcing weak contact and getting hit hard is [the] angle on your fastball and your other pitches," Fulmer said. "For me, being a smaller guy, it's easier for me to be flat.

Fulmer excellent in ML debut

"They've really put an emphasis on keeping me tall and working down in the zone with the angle, and when I was in Triple-A last year, I was able to work with our pitching coach there and really learn how to keep the ball down and with angle. I continued to do that in the offseason. I feel like I've done a good job of that this spring so far and hopefully I can go out and do the same thing tomorrow."

Manager Rick Renteria didn't commit to an opening game lineup, but he did list goals expected from his team over the next five weeks.

"Effort, our ability to execute," Renteria said. "I would expect, it's not always clean, but hopefully it is. We use [the games] as a forum to be able to address certain issues and highlight the good and take care of what's not going so well and continue to improve it as we move forward this spring."

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.