CHICAGO -- It didn't take long for Philip Humber to test his mettle on the mound during his Minor League injury rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte against Norfolk on Tuesday.
The right-hander, who was placed on the disabled list with a facial contusion after being hit above the right eye by a Kosuke Fukudome line drive on Aug. 18, was hit with a bouncer in the back during the second inning of his five-inning effort. He didn't flinch and actually got an assist when shortstop Eduardo Escobar made the play at first.
Humber seemed more bothered by allowing four earned runs on seven hits over five innings then he did by getting caught with the grounder.
"The funny part, I didn't think about it," said a laughing Humber by phone, in discussing the one-hopper. "We got an out, but here comes the trainer, and I told him, 'I'm not coming out of the game.'
"It stunned me, but I wasn't flinching or anticipating. Actually, the line drives they hit went too far. They weren't at me, they were at the warning track."
A.J. Pierzynski caught Humber in the catcher's first Minor League rehab start to test his fractured left wrist. Pierzynski finished 0-for-3 and will serve as the designated hitter for Charlotte on Wednesday. He is expected to catch for the Knights on Thursday and then return to the White Sox in Detroit on Friday.
An extra burst of adrenaline from being back in game action helped reduce Pierzynski's pain. Humber was trying to knock a little of the rust loose after not pitching for 12 days, and the same goes for Pierzynski, who was last in action on Aug. 12, when Kansas City's Bruce Chen hit him with the fateful pitch.
"Get through healthy and get at-bats and try to get a little bit of timing back," Pierzynski said. "Just feel good and where I need to be. Everything checked out fine. There's always something in there, but it's very manageable."
"My command, I was throwing strikes but not throwing quality strikes," said Humber, who figures to pitch one of the games in Monday's split-doubleheader at Minnesota's Target Field. "That's to be expected. The main thing to me was the psychological part of it. All and all, it definitely was a positive outing to build off and get ready to go."
Ozzie says Rios best option for cleanup
CHICAGO -- With his .214 average and 32 RBIs, Alex Rios wouldn't exactly be the popular choice to hit cleanup for the White Sox. But in the offense's current state, manager Ozzie Guillen believes Rios is the best candidate to protect Paul Konerko, the team's top offensive threat, stationed in the third slot.
"You see Rios, his reputation and background is better than the other guys," said Guillen, explaining Rios in the cleanup position. "Maybe [Alexei Ramirez], but he is batting second because I want to keep a left-handed hitter in the back of the lineup to help us. But I don't see anybody. I don't have anybody better there than Rios."
Ideally, Adam Dunn would be hitting behind Konerko. But with a .163 average and 156 strikeouts, the big-ticket free agent has been relegated to the bench until further notice.
Dayan Viciedo was a run producer while tormenting International League pitching for Triple-A Charlotte, but Guillen does not want to hit Viciedo fourth just days after his callup.
"Not right now. I think I don't want to put him in the spot where we have to make Viciedo be the guy," Guillen said. "Let the big boys with more money and experience handle that situation. If the time comes when I think Viciedo is the one we need to protect PK, I will do that. I don't mind. Right now, we are fine the way we are."
"Pretty much just do the same things I've been doing down in Charlotte," said Viciedo, through translator Jackson Miranda, of his immediate big league goals. "Just come up here and continue with the great mechanics and contribute as much as I can."Rios went 2-for-5 with two runs scored in Tuesday's 8-6 victory over the Twins.
Triple-A coaches credited for prospects' success
CHICAGO -- The trio of catcher Tyler Flowers, outfielder/designated hitter Dayan Viciedo and outfielder Alejandro De Aza, referred to as the Charlotte White Sox or the Chicago Knights, have injected a burst of energy to the big league squad since their arrivals. But manager Ozzie Guillen gave credit on Tuesday to Charlotte manager Joe McEwing and hitting coach Tim Laker for the players' overall Minor League development.
"I have great feedback from the Triple-A hitting coach. They are very happy about the way he's working," Guillen said. "Players take advantage of that. The guy is a workaholic. He gives the players a great teaching mode. He prepares them about how to play the game.
"And Super Joe back in Triple-A did a good job showing these kids how to play the game and all this stuff. Obviously, when they come to the big leagues, we have to try to make them survive in the game, but we don't have to teach that much. I give them a lot of credit.
"We saw the same kids over last couple of years come into the White Sox and they were very lost," Guillen said. "They come back here and right now, I think the hitting coach in Triple-A is doing a tremendous job to make them believe and have confidence to come to the big league level."
White Sox trio nominated for Frick Award
CHICAGO -- Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, Ed Farmer and Steve Stone are the White Sox representatives on the fan ballot to select three finalists for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's 2012 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting.
Fans can cast votes at the Hall of Fame's Facebook page, marking the ninth consecutive year fans will select three of the 10 names on the ballot for the Frick Award. Voting runs from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, and fans can vote once per day.
Results of the fan voting will be announced on Oct. 5. The final 2012 Frick Award ballot will be comprised of the three fan selections, along with seven other candidates, determined by a Hall of Fame staff research team. This fall, a 20-member electorate will vote on the final 10-name ballot to determine the 2012 Frick Award winner, which will be announced Dec. 6 at baseball's Winter Meetings.
Harrelson is in his 21st year as the White Sox television play-by-play announcer. Farmer, the team's radio play-by-play voice, is in his 20th full season on the White Sox Radio Network. Stone, the White Sox television analyst for the past three seasons, is an at-large representative on the ballot.
Third to first
White Sox Minor League pitcher Terry Doyle, catcher Josh Phegley, infielder Tyler Saladino and outfielder Brandon Short will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox in the 2011 Arizona Fall League. Triple-A Charlotte skipper Joe McEwing will be the club's manager. Will Ohman earned his first win since May 25, 2009, in Tuesday's 8-6 victory over the Twins. The lefty threw two pitches, both strikes, in recording his lone out -- a groundout by Jason Kubel The White Sox are hitting .368 with runners in scoring position over their last eight games. The White Sox five-game winning streak against the Twins is their longest since a five-game stretch from May 8-June 9, 2008.