SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Phil Humber worked three scoreless innings as the starter in the White Sox 7-6 victory over Texas on Thursday afternoon. Manager Ozzie Guillen was encouraged by the way the right-hander attacked the strike zone, throwing 19 of his 26 pitches for strikes.
Humber, in turn, hopes the new cutter he worked on Thursday will help him earn that seventh and final bullpen slot among the White Sox staff. Prior to the contest, Humber told Thursday batterymate Tyler Flowers that he wanted to focus on this particular pitch.
"Most of the ones I threw were good," said Humber, who started the split-squad contest, with Gavin Floyd starting Thursday night against the D-backs. "I got some weak contact on it and that also helped my two-seamer running back the other way.
"It was good for me to see. It's going to be a pitch I'm probably going to use. It was positive today for sure."
The Rangers' Mike Napoli had his bat shattered by Humber on a pitch with one out in the second, but Humber said it was the two-seamer producing that damage.
"Like I said, they complement each other," said Humber, who has been getting help with the cutter from bullpen coach Juan Nieves and picking the brains of other pitchers. "You get guys leaning out and that ball runs back in on them.
"Now it's a matter of knowing when to use it in the game and being confident it will do what it needs to do," Humber added.
Guillen praised Humber for stepping up in the bullpen battle.
"This kid came out and threw the ball well against a pretty good hitting team," said Guillen.