On Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field, Humber took a Kosuke Fukudome
line drive just above the right eye with one out and Carlos
Santana on second in the second inning of Cleveland's 4-2
victory. Humber fell back immediately and clutched his face, but
jumped up just as instantaneously to look for the baseball.
White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and manager Ozzie
Guillen rushed out to check on Humber, but despite his request to
stay in the game, he was removed for precautionary measures.
Humber will be evaluated again on Friday, but he was alert and
responsive, as proven by his holding court with the media after
the game. He even joked with a few of his teammates.
"That's a God thing. There's a hand of protection around me,"
Humber said. "And I'm definitely thankful it wasn't a lot worse
and that I'm OK.
"Of course, everyone was asking if I was OK. I told them I was
good. I felt like I could still pitch and wanted to be out there.
But at the same time, they got a job to do and take every
precaution that there wasn't anything serious going on."
Guillen said that his first reaction was not to run to the field,
but instead to grab some towels, fearing the worst when Humber
was struck. While pitching in a game for the Triple-A Omaha
Royals on June 10 of last year, Humber took a Luis Cruz line
drive to the face and ended up getting 18 stitches to the right
of his mouth.
Humber pointed out the scar left from that encounter during his
postgame interview session. The 28-year-old then briefly lifted
his hat to show a slightly bruised and swollen bump from
Thursday's version of ball meets pitcher.
"Same thing: it could have been worse," said Humber of enduring
painful comebackers in back-to-back seasons. "I'm just very
thankful. I got to do some drills to get my reflexes faster, or
quit getting line drives up the middle."
"It could have been an ugly night," Guillen said. "It was just
one game we lost. Thank God nothing happened to this kid."
Concern for Humber came from his teammates, as well as the White
Sox opponents and division rivals from Cleveland. Indians manager
Manny Acta formed "a decent relationship" with the pitcher when
Acta was the Mets third-base coach from 2005-06, and Humber was
part of the organization. Acta called the situation "very scary"
because "it happened so fast," and agreed with Guillen about the
serious injury that could have occurred if the ball hit him
square in the face.
Fukudome, through interpreter Hiro Aoyama, conveyed a feeling of
worry, but also helplessness.
"I asked another player during the game how he was doing. I also
am planning on asking someone to call them and check on him for
me," Fukudome said. "I saw exactly what happened. I couldn't do
anything, because it happened after I hit it. I felt bad about
"When I came in to check on him, he was walking around like
nothing happened," White Sox leadoff hitter Juan Pierre said. "I
just couldn't believe it. He survived. It's pretty amazing."
The pitch in question was a hanging curve on a 3-2 offering, and
Humber was not able to get his glove up in time to protect
himself. Fukudome's line shot landed in foul territory, between
catcher Tyler Flowers and third baseman Omar Vizquel. Zach
Stewart replaced Humber with runners on first and third and one
As of Thursday night, Humber still wanted to make his next start
Wednesday in Anaheim. Guillen indicated discussions took place
Thursday on the matter, but nothing was finalized.
Although he checked out well in the clubhouse, specific signs
were given to Humber to watch for overnight. He said with a smile
that his wife, Kristan, will make sure he's watched over.
Then, Humber pointed out another blessing from this situation
that could have been so troublesome, giving kudos to White Sox
"My wife was here, so [it was] obviously upsetting for her," said
Humber, who added that he bounced up so quickly primarily to show
his wife it wasn't worse than it was. "But she told me the fans
were very supportive and had a lot of kind things to say to her,
so I appreciate that."
"Just a lot of things going through your mind," Guillen said.
"How lucky we are, and how lucky he is right now. That ball,
everything hit him in the right spot, you could put it that way."