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updated: 11/30/2012 9:21 PM

Astros claim Sox pitcher Humber off waivers

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  • Starting pitcher Phil Humber, shown here after his perfect game against the Seattle Mariners, has been claimed by the Houston Astros. The White Sox declined to tender him a contract after Humber went 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA last season.

      Starting pitcher Phil Humber, shown here after his perfect game against the Seattle Mariners, has been claimed by the Houston Astros. The White Sox declined to tender him a contract after Humber went 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA last season.
    Associated Press/April 21, 2012

  • Phil Humber waves his cap after pitching a perfect baseball game against the Seattle Mariners. A Texas native, Humber said he's excited to be pitching closer to home with the Houston Astros.

      Phil Humber waves his cap after pitching a perfect baseball game against the Seattle Mariners. A Texas native, Humber said he's excited to be pitching closer to home with the Houston Astros.
    Associated Press/April 21, 2012

 
 

You often hear major-league baseball players talk about how humbling -- and cruel -- the game can be.

Phil Humber discussed the twin topics quite a bit last season, with good reason.

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The White Sox' unassuming starting pitcher was the toast of baseball after throwing a perfect game on April 21 at Seattle.

But Humber never came close to recapturing the magic while going 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA.

The right-hander's performance steadily declined after he pitched the 21st perfect game in major-league history. Humber landed on the disabled list for a month (June 17-July 17) with a sore elbow, was demoted to the bullpen in August and he made just one relief appearance over the final month of the season.

Eligible for salary arbitration, Humber was claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros Friday.

The White Sox also declined to tender 2013 contracts to infielder Dan Johnson and right-handed pitcher Anthony Carter, reducing their 40-man roster to 37.

Humber gets a fresh start back home in Texas. He's from Nacogdoches and was an All-American pitcher at Rice University in Houston.

"It's really exciting, more so for my family than anything," Humber told Houston reporters. "The places I've played before, they haven't been able to see me but a little bit. I think it's going to be a good situation.

"As far as the way things went last year, there were obviously some extreme highs and getting hurt and not pitching the way I was capable of. I'm excited about the opportunity to get back out there and prove I'm capable of being a good major-league pitcher."

Expected to get a shot at starting for the Astros, Humber agreed to terms on a one-year contract with a club option for 2014.

As for Johnson, he has a potent left-handed bat and that's still a big need for the White Sox.

Johnson signed a minor-league deal with the Sox last season after suffering a serious wrist injury the year before with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Johnson spent most of 2012 with Class AAA Charlotte and led the International league with 28 home runs while ranking second with 85 RBI.

He could have helped the White Sox during the season but would have needed to clear waivers before landing on the South Side since he was out of options.

Johnson finally got the call from the Sox in September and he hit 3 home runs in the final game of the season.

Now a free agent after being nontendered, Johnson is likely to sign with another major-league team. His best position is first base, where he's blocked by Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn.

Carter was 4-6 with a 4.60 ERA and 2 saves with Charlotte last season.

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