Phil Humber is becoming the uninvited guest who won't leave, and the White Sox might be better off if he doesn't.
The team has seemingly continued to delay the decision to go from a six-man rotation to a five-man crew, waiting for Humber to stumble, which would justify making him the odd man out at the end of the current road trip.
Instead, he keeps pitching as he did Thursday, when he allowed one run on six hits in 7 2/3 innings against Toronto. He didn't get the win, but the Sox eventually did, 3-1. Humber lowered his ERA to a season-best 2.85, adding confusion to the equation.
Based on experience and salary, Humber would be the leading candidate for a demotion to the bullpen. Mark Buehrle and Jake Peavy have each been lights out, and Gavin Floyd is an organizational favorite. That leaves John Danks, who has pitched better than his 0-7 record, and Edwin Jackson, who has looked terrific at times and awful in other instances.
"We have to know if this guy can pitch out of the bullpen and how long it takes for him to get loose," manager Ozzie Guillen replied when asked about the traits a candidate for the change to the 'pen must show. "There are so many things we have to go over with (pitching coach Don Cooper) about who is the best guy to move out of there."
The organization has been meeting over the last week to try to figure out the best course of action, but someone's feelings are going to be hurt.
"If Humber has to go out of there, that's the way it is," Guillen said. "We talked about a few players. But in the meanwhile, we'll see how it works. The decision will be made later, and we have to pick the guys who will be out there."
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