SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Twenty-two strikeouts over 24 innings placed Chris Sale as the Cactus League leader in that category entering Friday night's contests. Even though the lanky left-hander, who turned 23 on Friday, quite possibly has the best raw stuff on the White Sox staff, he isn't worried about big strikeout numbers in his first season as a starter.
To reinforce this particular point, Sale had to ask his mom and wife how many he recorded during Thursday's victory over the Dodgers. The correct answer was seven, without issuing a walk.
"Strikeouts are great, but at the same time, you still want to attack early and often," Sale said. "That's the game plan: Get strike one and an out in three or four pitches. If that out happens to be a strikeout, then great. It's not a goal of mine to go into each game and have X amount of strikeouts."
With the innings total placed upon Sale's arm being watched in his first season as a starter and some equally young arms behind him in the bullpen, Sale realizes fewer pitches lead to a greater chance for far-ranging team and personal success.
"At the end of the day, it would be better for us as a pitching staff if I was throwing less pitches and feeling better next time out," Sale said. "Thirteen strikeouts is cool, but if you are going six innings with 120 pitches with 13 K's, that's probably not as good as a lower pitch count with less strikeouts but more innings."
Humber looking forward to trip home, season
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- White Sox right-hander Philip Humber won't get to pitch in front of his hometown faithful during the season-opening series next weekend in Arlington, Texas.
But the native of Tyler, Texas, at least gets a start during Wednesday afternoon's exhibition game in Houston, in the final tuneup for both the right-hander and the White Sox.
"I'm always glad to spend time in Texas and get to see a lot of family and friends," said Humber, who was a member of the 2003 Rice University national championship team. "We get to spend about a week there, so that's cool.
"My grandfather and my aunt are going to make that [Houston] trip and some more are coming up to Arlington. It's always fun for me to come back home. Sometimes they enjoy it more than I do: The big leagues, it's exciting. So it's a big deal."
With his velocity up and his slider improved, Humber prepares for his 2012 debut on April 10 in Cleveland with the confidence of having better stuff. But even with last year's breakout effort on the resume, where Humber was good enough for a first-half period to stand as one reason for the White Sox temporarily moving to a six-man rotation, he won't get complacent.
"You have to prove yourself every time you take the mound because we have talented guys who'd like to take your spot," Humber said. "So you pitch like it's your last game, like you have nothing to lose. Attack the mitt and have fun with it.
"Just continue to improve. But the main thing is being able to hit the glove over and over again. Anybody would give you the same answer, but I have to get more consistent and try not to do more physically but more mentally."
Roster decisions expected to come Sunday
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Robin Ventura began his Friday meeting with the Chicago media by stating, with a wry smile, that "it's the same news as yesterday."
Apparently, the White Sox manager is ready to move on from Arizona to the 2012 regular season just like his players.
"I don't think it's getting old, but I think everybody is ready to go," Ventura said. "That's a good thing, instead of having guys wanting another couple of weeks here. You want them ready to go and feeling like they have gotten everything in they need to get in."
Before the White Sox travel to Houston on Monday evening, they still have to officially announce their final position player and two relievers. Ventura said those decisions probably would be made public Sunday, and that the higher-ups already have a decent idea of the final calls.
"Yeah, we have a decent idea," Ventura said. "But again, you never know what's going to happen, so that's why we are waiting."
Third to first
Brent Morel left for a pinch-runner in the sixth inning of Friday's 7-2 loss to the Royals due to back stiffness. The move was described as a precautionary measure. Alex Rios was back in Friday's lineup after being scratched Thursday with a slight strain of his left Achilles. The move was a trainer's decision, as opposed to one made by Rios.
"It's something that was a little sore yesterday," Rios said. "For some reason, it's gone today."
Both Jake Peavy and Zach Stewart will pitch in Sunday's game against the Reds in Goodyear, Ariz. Peavy wanted to back off the innings and pitch total in his final Cactus League outing, meaning Stewart will get a few more innings to work.