Before their first game in September, the White Sox gave Rick Renteria three more options on the pitching staff, reinstating Reynaldo Lopez from the disabled list and adding Carson Fulmer and David Holmberg as swingmen.
The White Sox aren’t committing to Fulmer as a reliever — the path that makes the most sense at this point — but the presence of Holmberg gives Renteria multiple other options for multiple innings. The writing may be on the wall in that Fulmer wasn’t among the names listed as possibility for Tuesday’s starter, which could be Derek Holland, but also could be Dylan Covey or Mike Pelfrey.
On the record, Rick Hahn only said the September call-up was a way to get Don Cooper to see what Fulmer is or isn’t doing.
"We thought it was important to get Carson back here to get him working with [pitching coach Don Cooper] and [bullpen coach Curt Hasler]," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "We felt getting him more innings over the course of the 2017 season [in the Minors] and then again getting tested at this level will benefit his development in the long term."
Hahn said the call-ups weren’t necessarily limited to those pitchers, with more moves possible after Charlotte and Birmingham complete their season. Leury Garcia tipped one of them by aggravating his thumb during batting practice on Friday. The White Sox placed him on the disabled list with a sprained right thumb (September DL stints are always notable) and added Rymer Liriano to both the active and 40-man rosters to take his place, giving Renteria one more true corner outfielder.
Liriano hit .256/.323/.416 over 500 plate appearances with Charlotte in a season that has rolled out in a pleasingly predictable fashion. The White Sox claimed him from the Brewers in an attempt to salvage a former prospect whose career was stunted by a pitch to the face and concussion issues afterward. He looked ragged enough in the spring for the White Sox to get him through waivers to Charlotte, where he spent the first two months knocking off rust (.229/.289/.319).
Since the start of June, he’s hitting .269/.339/.462 over 341 plate appearances. The 26.7 strikeout rate and 8.6 walk rate during that period paint the picture of a AAAA hacker, but his sizable splits make him a potential platoon bat.
- vs. RHP: .236/.298/.362, 7.3% BB, 26.9% K
- vs. LHP: .300/.377/.536, 10.7% BB, 25.8% K
It’s hard to say when Liriano will get a chance to showcase this particular skill, as the probable opposing pitchers through the middle of next week are all righties. For the time being, with Yoan Moncada and Nicky Delmonico not ready to return to game action at the end of the minimum DL stints, Liriano will at least be a warm body for a team that can use them.