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Chicago White Sox Spring Training Update: Phil Humber Tabbed as 5th Starter

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  Phil Humber #41 of the Chicago White Sox poses for a photo on photo day at Camelback Ranch on February 26, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Joshua BurmeisterContributor IMarch 25, 2011

With spring training coming to a close, decisions must be made.

Brent Morel was given the nod at third base, meaning the competition was delegated to bench spots.

The only other decision that had to be made was the fifth starter’s spot, which wasn't so much a competition as it was Sox skipper, Ozzie Guillen, looking at who was ready to go.

The decision was passed and Phil Humber got the nod for the starting job. Earlier in the week, I had alluded to the possibility that either Pena or Humber was going to be given the task of holding down the back end of the rotation until Jake Peavy gets back from healing.

White Sox fans should not expect too much from Phil Humber. In the past, he has not shown anything of extraordinary brilliance. Once heralded as a top prospect for the Mets, Humber has dealt with injuries over the past few years.

He has never accumulated statistics at any level of the game proving himself worthy of top recognition.

His stops amongst the Mets, Royals and Twins farm systems have proved to be shaky at best. His repertoire features primarily a fastball, slider, curveball and changeup. He sticks to his curveball as his primary offspeed pitch.

His ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio stands at a 1.21 for his career—this means for every one groundout he gets, he gets one flyout. While not a terrible ratio, fly balls could be Humber’s downfall in the hitters' park of U.S. Cellular. Gavin Floyd learned that lesson in his first three years on the South Side.

While Humber’s past and numbers don’t bode well for any amount of success, his schedule does. For the first two-and-a-half weeks of the season, Humber will have two starts. The first coming against the punch-less Kansas City Royals and the second coming against the ragtag Oakland Athletics.

Neither team should frighten a player with such inexperience as Humber. Humber won’t stand a real difficult contest until the third week of the season, when the Los Angeles Angels roll into Chicago.

By that time, Peavy should be fully healed with any luck and back on the roster taking his first start of the season.

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