Humber hoping to contribute in new role

Philip Humber had a rough go of it as a starter this season. AP Photo/Steven Senne

CHICAGO -- Most people would tell you that coming out of the starting rotation and moving into a bullpen is a demotion. In the case of RHP Phil Humber and the first-place White Sox, no one is looking at it that way.

Humber made his first relief appearance of the season in Tuesday night’s game, allowing one hit in a scoreless inning.

“He is going to help us in the bullpen,” said veteran set-up man Matt Thornton. “Phil is not looking at this as a demotion and that is because he is a class act and a good teammate. He is still a major part of this team and his role can be essential in any number of ways. The nice thing about this team and the guys on it is the focus that is put on winning each day. We really appreciate the contributions of all 25 guys.”

As the team’s long man or floater, Humber, who had previously pitched out of the bullpen 25 times in his career, can contribute in any number of situations.

“ He has handled it professionally,” said manager Robin Ventura. “It is part of the job, but it doesn’t mean he has to be happy about it, but he is able to put it aside and do what is best for the team.”

A former first-round pick of the Mets in 2004, Humber has put pitching a perfect game in late April behind him in order to help the Sox.

“He can do other things for us, but this is what we need him to (do) right now,” Ventura said. “I would say, if we weren’t doing so well it might be a different situation.”

After a breakout 2011 season – in which he posted a 9-9 record and 3.75 ERA in 26 starts – Humber struggled as a starter in 2012.

“The good part of being a part of a baseball team is everybody has been through some kind of a struggle,” Humber said. “At times you will be the guy to listen to a teammate or help with some advice or you might be on the opposite end of it. That’s the nice thing about being part of a team.”

“I want to be a contributing player to a winning baseball team. Whatever role that is -- so be it.”