If Humber loses his spot, who should take it?

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If Humber loses his spot, who should take it?

After allowing six runs (five earned) in 5 13 innings on Sunday, Philip Humber's stats since his April 21 perfect game read like a script to a slasher movie: 48 IP, 7.50 ERA, 26 BB, 43 K, 12 HR and an opponent slash line of .280.372.523, an .896 OPS. Essentially, Humber has faced nothing but Prince Fielders, who enters Monday with an .895 OPS.

Humber is officially on notice after Robin Ventura intimated there was an ongoing discussion about the righty's future role. It could be in the bullpen, or it could be in the starting rotation -- but that's something the Sox will decide after Humber's next start, which will come this weekend in Los Angeles.

John Danks will make his first minor-league rehab start tomorrow. He may need one more, which would buy the White Sox some time to make a decision on what their roster will look like when Danks returns.

Here's the dilemma the Sox are facing: Keep Humber and send Jose Quintana back to Triple-A, or keep Quintana in the rotation, send Humber to the bullpen and demote someone to Triple-A (long-relievermop-up man Zach Stewart would be the likely candidate). The White Sox also could send Quintana to Charlotte and call up Dylan Axelrod, who's made one start this season and has been outstanding in 10 Triple-A starts.

But Quintana has had fantastic results in 22 innings spanning three starts and two relief appearances. He owns a 2.05 ERA and hasn't looked intimidated on the mound, impressive for someone who still has yet to throw an inning in Triple-A.

By the numbers, though, Quintana's early success may not be sustainable. Opponents have a batting average on balls in play of .200 against him, and his FIP -- a good predictor of future ERA -- sits at 4.14. Of course, 22 innings is hardly a large enough sample size, but the wasn't a book on Quintana when he was called up.

Unlike Axelrod, Quintana was relatively or completely unknown by most in the major leagues. But Quintana has faced Cleveland twice and succeeded in both outings. He did a fine job against Tampa Bay before Mark Wegner booted him for throwing behind Ben Zobrist. He's yet to have bad results when he's taken the mound.

It's been easy to forget Quintana is just 23 in his three starts -- he was born 15 days after Nestor Molina, who probably isn't an option for the majors at this point. But Quintana still has some things he needs to work on -- mainly, developing his tertiary offerings -- that most every young pitcher does in Triple-A. As it stands, Quintana has thrown about 70 percent fastballs and 19 percent sliders, opting for a slow curveball 9 percent of the time and a changeup 2 percent of the time.

That changeup is the pitch the Sox probably want to see Quintana develop. He throws it at an average velocity of 85 mph, only about 4 mph slower than his fastball. It's a pitch that could use some work, and it'd be more beneficial for Quintana to work on it in Charlotte than Chicago.

The best-case scenario is for Humber to work through his struggles, throw a good game against Los Angeles and keep his rotation spot. That would allow Quintana to continue to develop in Charlotte and give the Sox multiple reserves (him and Axelrod) ready to join the majors if need be.

But if Humber does need to go to the bullpen, the Sox wouldn't be wrong to try to ride Quintana's success as long as they can while hoping Humber finds himself working in relief. It's unlikely a move to the bullpen would be permanent for Humber, only lasting until he starts to see better results. When that happens, unless Quintana is doing his best Chris Sale impression, he'll probably board a plane back to Charlotte.

And don't forget about Axelrod in all of this -- if Humber needs more time in the bullpen and Quintana needs more development in the minors, he'd be a viable option to fill in.

This is a debate, though, that Humber can render moot. It'll start with a good side session in St. Louis, and then a solid outing in Los Angeles would do the trick. Quintana will face St. Louis on Tuesday, and how he handles that test will certainly play into this as well.

White Sox upset by the call that led to ejections of Todd Frazier, Rick Renteria

White Sox upset by the call that led to ejections of Todd Frazier, Rick Renteria

Todd Frazier wasn’t pleased with a call Saturday afternoon that led to the first ejection of his career.

It’s not that the White Sox third baseman is arguing about whether or not he deserved to get thrown out in the seventh inning of a 10-2 loss to the Oakland A’s. Frazier is more miffed by first-base umpire Sam Holbrook’s initial ruling --- that his throw pulled Jose Abreu off the bag --- and the determination by replay officials that the call was correct.

Frazier was ejected shortly after word arrived that the call stands, which means officials in New York didn’t believe they have enough evidence to overturn the original ruling. That fact bothered Frazier, who was charged with an error and began to speak his mind. White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected shortly thereafter for the third straight home game.

“It’s just frustrating with the technology we have today,” Frazier said. “It’s just crazy. It boggles your mind. It really does. You know -- I’m the one. I’m vocal. I’m emotional. But when it’s wrong, 100 percent wrong. I saw it on the MLB Network. I saw it in our cameras and our computers. I just don’t understand how we can see it and they can’t see it in New York. It’s just, it’s frustrating as all hell to be honest with you. It turned into a big inning. We were down a lot, don’t get me wrong. But still, Jake (Petricka) is pitching his heart out and next thing you know he gives up an unearned run and two more runs. So it’s really not that hard. Honest. It’s not that hard.”

Renteria raced onto the field in an attempt to save Frazier from a quick ejection, but didn’t have enough time. It was the third home game in a row in which a White Sox player was ejected for the first time in their career. Tim Anderson got the boot on Friday night after he argued with plate umpire Jim Wolf. And Avisail Garcia got tossed from the June 15 series finale against the Baltimore Orioles.

Renteria said taking into context who his players are and their track record made him want to further defend their actions.

“I don't ever go into a situation arguing with someone to get thrown out,” Renteria said. “I don't. I think what happens is, like anybody emotionally, when you start talking and expressing yourself, you have a tendency to get heated. You don't plan on doing that. I certainly don't go out there planning on having that happen. I think what happens, and I think it's just human nature, you start thinking about the whole situation, you're losing a player. You're losing a guy that's supposed to be in there for the next two, three innings to help you maybe continue to chip away. Our team has been fighting every day, since day one of spring training. I don’t care what our record is, I don't care what the score is, we fight. And when you take one of those pieces out of the lineup, you get pissed.”

Even though he had a chance to cool off, Frazier still felt the same after the contest. He stuck his head into the team’s video room after the game to check out the play. Teams have a variety of angles from which they can determine whether or not to challenge a call. They also have the option of taking a freeze frame and magnifying the picture, which left no doubt in Frazier’s mind that the call was incorrect.

“Like I said just frustrating,” Frazier said. “It’s just not that hard. And with all the technology like I said, I don’t mean to repeat ourselves, but with all the technology and 8 different angles it’s just one of those things where I just can’t let that go. It turned into a huge inning. You never know. We were down 6 we coulda came back. You gotta be 100 percent. You gotta be 100 percent right on that and I really don’t think he was.”

How a fan's kind gesture surprised Mark Buehrle on his big day

How a fan's kind gesture surprised Mark Buehrle on his big day

It’s one of the more iconic moments in White Sox history, and now Mark Buehrle has a key piece of memorabilia after a fan’s kind gesture.

Already overwhelmed by a series of gifts from the White Sox on Saturday afternoon, Buehrle was in disbelief when 17-year-old Tommy Maloney walked onto the field during a number-retirement ceremony and presented him with the flipped-through-the-legs ball from 2010 Opening Day.

The memento was one of four gifts Buehrle received from the White Sox along with a new truck, a four-seat All-Terrain Vehicle and a personalized piece of art created by White Sox outfielder Ron Kittle commemorating many of the highlights of the pitcher’s White Sox career. It was just another part of an overwhelming, emotional day for Buehrle, who was honored for his 12 seasons in a White Sox uniform.

“Pretty cool,” Buehrle said. “I don’t recall signing it for him when it happened. I don’t really remember where it went. But one, for him to give that up, that was pretty awesome.”

Maloney’s father, Matt, contacted the White Sox earlier this month to see if Buehrle wanted to meet with the fan who had the ball from a moment in White Sox history that has been replayed thousands upon thousands of times.

The Maloneys also reached out to the White Sox back in 2010, too. They informed the club they had the ball that Buehrle retrieved and flipped through his legs to Paul Konerko, who caught it with a barehanded to retire Cleveland’s Lou Marson in the fifth inning of the April 5, 2010 contest. Buehrle autographed the ball in 2010, but neither he nor the White Sox asked for Tommy Maloney, who was 10 at the time, to hand it over.

“At that point it’s just a cool ball, it’s not part of White Sox history,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox vice president of sales and marketing.

As he looked for a unique artifact for Buehrle to offer another layer to Saturday’s ceremony, Boyer came across Matt Maloney’s most recent email. He definitely thought Buehrle would have interest in reuniting with the fan who held a key artifact from a play that has become legendary around these parts over the years.

But Boyer also asked if the Maloneys would want to donate the ball to Buehrle.

“We didn’t have the unique thing,” Boyer said. “We just didn’t have it.

“Here it is.”

How it had gotten in Tommy Maloney’s hands in the first place was interesting enough. The Munster, Ind., high schooler said his father got tickets for the 2010 season opener and he left school early to watch Buehrle, his favorite pitcher as a kid. The seats were in the first row behind the far right edge of the White Sox dugout, the same ones he was in for Saturday’s ceremony.

After the improbable play to steal a hit from Marson, Buehrle fell to his knees, which brought manager Ozzie Guillen out of the dugout. Somehow Guillen retrieved the ball and upon returning to the dugout, flipped it to Maloney, who had earlier asked him for a ball several times. Even though it was a prized possession, Tommy Maloney said he’d have no problem surrendering it again if he were asked.

The White Sox rewarded Maloney for his sacrifice as club chairman Jerry Reinsdorf determined that the youngster would present Buehrle with the ball on the field. But the White Sox didn’t tell Maloney he would present the ball until Saturday, surprising him with the news about an hour before the game.

“It’s awesome the way it played out,” Maloney said. “He’s such a great guy. He was hugging me in the dugout. He looked at me when I went up there to give him the ball and said, ‘Give me a hug.’ ”

Maloney not only stood on the field before the ceremony, he had a chance to briefly meet Buehrle in the dugout. He also received another autographed baseball. And after he was applauded by the sellout crowd, several fans stopped by Maloney’s seat to pose for a picture.

Buehrle was touched by the gesture.

“I was like, ‘Brooks, we’ve got to do something here,’ ” Buehrle said. “’He can’t just give the ball and walk out of here empty-handed.’ So I ended up signing him a ball and I don’t know if we have something else in mind, but it was pretty awesome.”