Humber Still Trying To Regain Form

A year after the Mets made Philip Humber the third overall pick in the 2004 draft, the righthander went under the knife to have Tommy John surgery. Since that surgery in July 2005 and a sore shoulder that ended his Arizona Fall League stint in 2006, Humber’s velocity has tumbled along with his prospect stock. He has lost 4-5 mph off his fastball, and he’s still trying to hone his command. While pitchers can sometimes return from Tommy John surgery after a year off, some pitchers take longer to return, and some say it takes even longer for them to truly feel comfortable on the mound again.

"There’s not a lot you can do with your elbow; pretty much, the joint moves one way," Humber said of his rehab, "so you spend a lot of time doing (shoulder work). After you go through that, you realize the importance of it."

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"I think mentally I’m in a better spot now, just because I feel like last year was kind of a feeling-out year, kind of getting that mentality of going after hitters and what is it that you do as a pitcher," Humber said, "so I feel like I’ve got that now, and it’s just a matter of getting better every time.

"I never had any problem with worrying that I was going to get hurt again. For me, it was more a matter of figuring out what I used to do before I got hurt."

The Twins acquired Humber in the trade that sent Johan Santana to the Mets this off-season. Humber, 25, will start the season with Triple-A Rochester.