CHICAGO -- The White Sox's experiment with a six-man rotation was short-lived, as manager Robin Ventura confirmed that pitcher Phil Humber will now work out of the bullpen.
The move gives the Sox flexibility moving forward. Not only does it add depth to a bullpen that's received its share of work as of late but, for now at least, it also signals that the Sox believe starter Chris Sale can work on regular rest moving forward.
"In case something happens with somebody and you need a major league arm, (Humber)'s the best guy for it," Ventura said. "It helps us a lot with the flexibility."
Humber has been no stranger to the bullpen as he's made 26 relief appearances throughout his career, including two last season. Humber is 5-5 in 16 starts this season with a 6.14 ERA. Humber admitted he hasn't been as consistent as he'd like to have been in a starting role and right now he's ready to help the Sox in any role possible. While he still believes he's capable of being a quality starter he was noncommittal about the type of role he'd prefer to have in the future.
"It's hard for me to answer that just because I want to start, but I also want to help the team anyway I can help them," Humber said. "I don't think that going to the bullpen is a demotion. That's disrespectful to the guys who are in the bullpen to say, ‘I'm good enough to start.' Well, I'm hoping I'm good enough to be in the bullpen. That's the attitude I take as far as whatever role I'm given.
"Whenever they give me the ball I'm going to do the best I can with it. Like I told (pitching coach Don Cooper) the other day, ‘This is something that you guys think is best for the team then I want to do it,' because I think our team is really good. Every day I see something else that's, man, that's another sign of a really good team. I want to be a part of it in any way that they allow me to be because I think we're going a long way this year."
It's been a season of twists and turns for Humber, who threw a perfect game in his second start of the season, then went more than a month without a victory before eventually going on the disabled list with a right flexor strain.
"Mentally, there have been some things I've come along out of the ordinary, and the results I've gotten on the field at times have been very frustrating to me," Humber said. "I know it's frustrating for the fans and sometimes I hear their frustrations. But nobody cares more than I do and wants to succeed when I go out there.
"I put as much effort as I possibly can to be good at what I'm doing. It's disappointing when you don't get the results you want to have, but like I said, the things I've been through in this game and the ups and downs have all prepared me for different situations. I want to help the team in any way I can, and I'm thankful for the opportunity they're giving me now in the bullpen as much as a starter. It's a trying year, but at the same time, it's been awesome year as a team. That means more to me than anything individually."