Scott Carroll closing in on big league dream

CHICAGO -- While not yet making it official, the Chicago White Sox are expected to call up right-hander Scott Carroll and have him start Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The White Sox have a rotation vacancy after Chris Sale went on the disabled list because of a flexor muscle strain. Left-hander Charlie Leesman got the first crack at Sale’s spot, but he struggled against the Texas Rangers last weekend and was sent down earlier this week.

Carroll is not on the 40-man roster, which is currently full, so the White Sox will need to make a corresponding move to get him to the major leagues.

The 29-year-old's story is one of resiliency, having spent eight seasons in the minor leagues without ever appearing in a major league game.

He nearly quit baseball after blowing out his elbow in 2012 while pitching in the winter leagues in Venezuela. He underwent Tommy John surgery, made a handful of appearances last season and got off to a solid start at Triple-A Charlotte this year.

“Pitching last season was still part of my rehab process,” Carroll told the Charlotte Observer earlier this month. “It wasn’t like I was trying to win a job or anything. I think the whole year was just a learning process.

“I got to take a step back and really try and hone my craft and figure out what it is that I needed to do to be successful at this next level and, ultimately, to get to the big leagues.”

The former third-round pick in 2007 has pitched in the Cincinnati Reds and White Sox’s organizations after attending Missouri State University, where he also played quarterback.

It has all come together for him this season with the Charlotte Knights. He didn’t give up an earned run in any of his first three starts of the season, before giving up four in four innings to Gwinnett Braves on Saturday. He was held out of his start Thursday, which fueled speculation that he was headed to the major leagues.

The sinkerball pitcher is 3-1 this season with a 1.57 ERA in his four starts. In his minor league career, he is 27-38 with a 3.95 ERA.