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updated: 8/18/2011 11:12 PM

Ouch! White Sox' Phil Humber barely avoids serious injury

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  • Associated PressWhite Sox starter Phil Humber reacts after being hit in the forehead by a liner off the bat of the Indians' Kosuke Fukudome during the second inning Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field.

      Associated PressWhite Sox starter Phil Humber reacts after being hit in the forehead by a liner off the bat of the Indians' Kosuke Fukudome during the second inning Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field.

  • Associated PressPhil Humber is examined by a White Sox trainer Herm Schneider after being hit in the head by a liner from the Indians' Kosuke Fukudome.

      Associated PressPhil Humber is examined by a White Sox trainer Herm Schneider after being hit in the head by a liner from the Indians' Kosuke Fukudome.

 
 

Baseball is not always about winning and losing.

As the White Sox have been finding out the hard way as of late, baseball can seriously test your physical well being.

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During a June 18 game at Arizona, Sox starter John Danks was hit by a Stephen Drew line drive on the back of his head. Danks shook off the blow and stayed in the game.

More recently, Jake Peavy was nailed on the thigh by a Nick Swisher line drive, Paul Konerko was hit by a pitch on the side of his left knee and A.J. Pierzynski suffered a hairline fracture in his left wrist after also being hit by a pitch.

In the crowded pain department, Phil Humber moved to the top of the White Sox' hit list.

Humber got the start in Thursday night's 4-2 loss to the Indians, and he was lucky to come out alive.

With one out in the second inning, former Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome smoked a hanging 3-2 curveball back up the middle and Humber was hit in the face, just above the right eye.

Humber went down in a heap, lying with his back flat on the mound before he bounced back up and exited the field under his own power.

It was a frightening scene, but the 28-year-old Texan was alert and responsive while first being examined.

After the game, Humber had a lump over his eye, but he was in surprisingly good shape.

"You know what, that's a God thing," Humber said. "There's a hand of protection around me and I'm definitely thankful it wasn't a lot worse and that I'm OK."

After getting back on his feet, Humber actually thought about staying in the game.

"Everyone was asking if I was OK and I told them I was good," Humber said. "I felt like I could keep on pitching and wanted to stay out there. At the same time, they've got a job to do and they wanted to take every precaution and make sure there wasn't anything serious going on.

Humber still has a scar on his right cheek courtesy of a line drive that hit him in the face when he was pitching for Class AAA Omaha in June of 2010.

"It's crazy," Humber said. "The same type of deal, hit me in the cheek, I had 18 stitches, I had a hole in my face last year. The same thing with that one, it could have been so much worse. I'm just very thankful, and I've got to do some drills or something to get my reflexes a little faster I guess."

Humber was able to laugh, but he is lucky not to be seriously injured.

"It's just one game we lost," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Thank God nothing happened to this kid."

The Sox dropped to 4 games behind the first-place Tigers with the loss, and Gordon Beckham is probably heading to the bench after another brutal night at the plate.

The slumping second baseman was 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts and he stranded seven baserunners.

"I talked to him before the game, and I worry about him because he's chasing a lot of bad pitches," Guillen said. "When you are a hitter and you chasing bad pitches, it's like you are pitching and not throwing strikes. You will dig yourself a hole. You have to look for something.

"I know it's not easy. I played this game before and went through it. I was swinging at everything in my career as a player, but I think he has to lay off the high fastball as soon as he can because he's going to put himself in a deeper position."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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