CHICAGO -- Although Philip Humber went from Sept. 4-16 without getting into a game, the veteran hurler's upbeat attitude never changed.
He came to the ballpark ready to pitch or help the team win every day. During that down time, though, the right-hander also had chances to work on the side and continue correcting some bad habits that have contributed to his strange season with the White Sox.
"Everyone is always working on something, but I feel like I've gotten better in a lot of ways by just getting back to what I was doing before when I was being successful," said Humber, who mentioned the bad habits as part of the reason why he went to the disabled list with a right elbow flexor strain.
"I feel like I kind of got into a point where I was being real slow in my delivery," Humber continued. "Then all of a sudden, I needed to get to my release point and now you are trying to go hard and just kind of putting a lot of stress on my arm instead of just being kind of free and easy and more an athletic move like I'm trying to do now."
Humber began the year as one of the five White Sox starting pitchers and hurled the 21st perfect game in Major League history on April 21 at Seattle. His results since have not lived up to that unforgettable moment, with Humber posting a 5-5 record and 6.14 ERA in 15 starts and an 8.36 ERA over 10 relief outings.
That previous relief appearance on Sept. 4 produced eight runs allowed on seven hits in one-third of an inning against the Twins, before Humber bounced back to throw a 1-2-3 inning in Minnesota on Sunday. Humber has handled this year's ups and downs with dignity, but those struggles make his White Sox future a bit uncertain for the first time arbitration-eligible pitcher in 2013.
The third pick overall in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft joked Monday that he's out of the prediction business, specifically in regard to how he fits with the team. For now, he's happy to do what he can to help the White Sox reach the postseason.
"As a team, we have a lot left to do and hopefully this would be the craziest year for me," Humber said. "It started out with a perfect game and ended with a championship. That would be something awesome.
"It's been a fun year. It's not exactly how I would have drawn it up for myself, but I'm happy that we are in the position that we are in as a team and looking forward to seeing what happens.
"At the same time, if I had my way, it would be a whole lot smoother, trust me," Humber said. "I'm not planning on these ups and downs. It's just part of it. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it and everybody would be having success doing it."