Phil Humber takes a lickin’, keeps on tickin’

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Phil Humber apparently has a hard head.

The Chicago White Sox pitcher was hit flush in the head by a line drive off the bat of Cleveland Indians outfielder Kosuke Fukudome in the second inning of Thursday’s game, yet was on his feet to greet trainer Herm Schneider, and actually tried to convince Schneider to let him stay in the game.

Brett Ballantini of CSN Chicago has the goods:

Schneider asked Humber where the ball hit him—the pitcher attempted to block the blow with his glove but was too slow—and once Humber admitted he was hit flush on the head, Schneider insisted he leave the game, to the mild-mannered pitcher’s polite protests. Three of his four outs were strikeouts, although Cleveland tapped out three hits in his 1 1/3 innings.

The White Sox said that the preliminary tests on Humber indicate he was alert and responsive once removed from the game, and that he will be further evaluated on Friday.

Humber joked about his inability to avoid line drives, noting that he was hit in the cheek by one last season. “I’ve got to get on some drills or something to get my reflexes a little faster I guess.”

He also said he expects to make his next start, though admits that “some of that’s not up to me.”

“I feel very fortunate.” No kidding.

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RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.