The pitching seemed to be the least of the team's problems Friday, especially following a 1-0 loss to Milwaukee in 10 innings in which Chris Sale continued his dominant season by throwing eight scoreless innings and lowering his ERA to 2.24 in the no-decision.
But that performance came in the wake of the news that Philip Humber was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 17, with a right elbow flexor strain. Humber threw a perfect game for the Sox on April 21, against Seattle, and is now the second starter on the DL, joining John Danks, who has a Grade I tear in his shoulder and could be out until late July.
"You look at guys the way they talk about how they are feeling and physically with certain things," manager Robin Ventura said. "(Humber) had something when he was throwing that didn't feel right. I don't like having guys go out there trying to fight their way through something if they are not 100 percent. It's more of just getting him to get back to 100 percent and letting him go back out and pitch."
The 29-year-old Humber was 3-4 with a 6.01 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings over 12 starts this season, but in the 10 trips to the mound since the perfect game, he went 2-4 with a 7.47 ERA.
"I always want to pitch through it. My preference would be to keep going," Humber said. "But at the same time, when you're limited and you're not able to pitch to your full capabilities, not only for me but for the team, (going to the DL is) the best thing. They thought it was best to go ahead and shut me down and get it right. I'm going to work as hard as I can and hopefully be back out there real soon."
The Sox already had rookie Jose Quintana filling in for Danks the last three weeks, and filling in quite well. Now with Humber down, they called up reliever Brian Bruney from Class AAA Charlotte, while Dylan Axelrod, who was called up Tuesday, gets the start Saturday against the Brewers.
It will be Axelrod's second start this season and fifth of his career.
Even though Axelrod could get two or three starts, and Humber has struggled, Ventura was counting on Humber to be given his job back when he's healthy.
"Stuff like that can always happen," Ventura said. "But I would like to see Phil get back in there. When he comes off, he's going to get that shot."
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