Philip Humber, April’s Mr. Perfect, could soon be bullpen bound

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Philip Humber’s rotation spot will likely be up for grabs with one more bad outing.

After the right-hander gave up six runs — five earned — and three homers in 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Astros on Sunday, manager Robin Ventura said that Humber would make one more start, but declined to promise him anything after that.

It’s the fifth time in nine starts since his perfect game against the Mariners on April 21 that Humber has allowed at least five runs. He’s now 2-4 with a 5.93 ERA in 11 starts for the season.

It’s the home run ball that has served as Humber’s doom. He’s allowed 12 of them in 48 innings since the no-no. During his breakthrough 2011 season, he gave up a total of 14 homers in 163 innings. Humber fanned nine batters today, giving him 59 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings on the season, a nice step forward from 2011. So, if he can get the homers under control, his ERA could yet come down.

Still, the White Sox appear to be running out of patience. John Danks will make a rehab start Tuesday and could rejoin the rotation after that. Expectations were that Jose Quintana would be sent down to make room for Danks, but the team could keep him around and use Humber in middle relief instead.

DOJ settles antirust lawsuit against cable companies who don’t carry Dodgers games

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Last November, the U.S. Department of Justice sued AT&T, accusing its subsidiary, DirecTV, of being the ringleader in a plot in which it conspired with Cox Communications, Charter Communications and AT&T cable (then a separate company), to refuse to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodger-owned TV channel in violation of antitrust laws.

Now that lawsuit is over. The DOJ settled with AT&T last night.

The bad news: no part of the settlement obligates DirecTV or any of the other alleged co-conspirators to carry Dodgers games or to even negotiate to that end. There is likewise no fine or truly substantive penalty. It’s basically a “do not do this again!” agreement with some antitrust training requirements for executives and some orders to monitor their communications about these things.

“We are pleased to have resolved this matter to the satisfaction of all parties,” an AT&T spokesman said yesterday, likely in the tone of a guy who is pretty happy to have had a major antitrust suit against him settled so quickly.

When the suit was filed, I anticipated a settlement, as most antitrust suits brought by the DOJ are settled. Such a settlement could’ve featured a cash penalty or, more significantly, a brokered agreement between the parties in question in lieu of a cash settlement that could’ve led to Dodgers games being carried on more channels. After all, more competition is the end game of the Antirust Division.

As it is, however, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a surrender by the DOJ and a victory for the those carriers who coordinated their efforts to not carry the Dodgers.

An open question, unanswered in anyone’s statements yesterday, is whether this settlement is 100% about the merits of the case — keeping in mind that the DOJ tends not to file antitrust suits unless they think they can win, instead preferring to negotiate first — or whether it represents a new set of laxer priorities when it comes to antitrust enforcement from the Trump Administration and AG Jeff Sessions.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.