Struck near eye by liner, Humber goes on DL
White Sox recall reliever Kinney from Triple-A to fill roster spot
CHICAGO -- Phillip Humber either got really lucky after being drilled in the face by a line drive on Thursday night, or he has an abnormally hard forehead.
Maybe it's both. Either way, Humber is fortunate he didn't sustain a lot more than a lump above his right eye and a trip to the 15-day disabled list -- a move the White Sox announced on Friday while bringing up right-hander Josh Kinney from Triple-A Charlotte to replace him on the active roster.
Humber was struck with a line drive off the bat of Kosuke Fukudome with one out and Carlos Santana on second base in the second inning of a 4-2 loss to the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field. Humber fell back immediately, then jumped up quickly to look for the baseball.
He was removed from the game and examined in the clubhouse.
"I was in the clubhouse while he was in the clubhouse being examined, and he was laughing and smiling, and I didn't know if it was adrenaline or his head was that hard," said White Sox general manager Ken Williams. "It was impressive. His wife wasn't handling it so well, even though he tried to lighten the mood. She sees a big lump above her husband's eye ... but anytime something like that happens, it's scary. We're fortunate he's come away intact."
Williams said Humber was placed on the DL as more of a precautionary measure, and because the Sox didn't want to have their pitching hampered by a possible day-to-day situation that could potentially tax the bullpen.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said rookie Zach Stewart will take Humber's next turn in the starting rotation.
"It's definitely not what I want," said Humber, who was talking about making his next scheduled start after Thursday night's game. "I definitely want to be out there pitching and competing. But at the same time, it's not my decision. They're looking out for me as well as the team. I'm happy to do what they tell me to do, and I'll be working hard and looking forward to next time."
The incident did ratchet up the number of emails, calls and texts Humber received from concerned family and friends who either saw it happen live or looked at video replays online.
"The footage of it was interesting to people," Humber said. "It was on Yahoo! and stuff, so a lot of people saw what happened and were glad I was OK, so I was thankful to hear from them."
This wasn't the first time Humber was hit with a liner up the middle. While pitching in a game for the Triple-A Omaha Royals on June 10 last year, he needed 18 stitches to the right of his mouth.
"The [move to the disabled list] was made because we have to protect this kid," Guillen said. "Besides that, we are a little short in the bullpen -- but the main thing is to protect him. He was fine yesterday and he seems fine today, but I think we have enough people there to protect something like that. I am not a doctor, but in this kind of case, you don't know which way to go. In one second, it can go the wrong way. He's lucky to be walking now and there is no reason to risk ... I don't think it is worth it."
Kinney, 32, has 45 Major League games under his belt with the Cardinals (2006, 2008-09), and is 1-0 with a 4.56 ERA in his career. He's been strong at Charlotte, going 6-3 with a 2.77 ERA in a team-high 49 appearances. The move brought the White Sox 40-man roster to 37.
Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.