By Adam Hoge-

GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) – Alex Rios is fine.

The White Sox right-fielder was a late scratch Thursday with a slightly strained Achilles, but he’s in the lineup Friday night against the Royals and will play.

“I feel good,” he said Friday afternoon. “I was a little sore yesterday for some reason and it’s gone today.”

Rios isn’t exactly sure when he suffered the injury, but he suspects it happened when he stepped awkwardly on teammate Brent Lillibridge Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the toe issue that bothered Rios last season is not gone, but he says the pain is less severe now.

“It’s fine. It’s like it has always been, but I’ve been able to manage the pain. And it’s all right,” he said. “(The pain) is less. I got a couple of injections last year – some kind of lubricant or something – and I think it helped a lot.”

The toe is good enough that Rios said he would be willing to steal more this year if the coaches ask him to.

“If I have a chance to run that would be fine. I would like to be on the run. If they give me the green light I’ll make the move,” Rios said.

Humber On Track In Minor-League Outing

The White Sox opted to pitch Phil Humber against Cincinnati Reds minor-leaguers Friday instead of the major-league game against the Royals.

Humber went 6.2 innings, giving up nine hits, four earned runs and one walk while striking out five. He threw 106 pitches, 65 of which were strikes.

“It wasn’t hard to motivate myself,” he said about pitching on the back fields of Camelback Ranch. “I need to get work in and I need to get better so that’s enough motivation, but yeah, it’s a little bit different.”

Humber says his stuff is better this year than it was last year. His velocity is up and his slider is better. He said he is focusing on being more consistent and being better mentally, instead of physically.

While he has secured a spot in the rotation, he realizes he could easily lose that spot if he doesn’t pitch well once the season starts.

“You have to prove yourself every time you take the mound as far as deserving to be in that spot,” he said. “We have a lot of guys who are talented who would love to be in that position. For me, it’s the same attitude. Just go out there like it’s your last game.”

Friday Against The Royals

Eric Stults will be on the mound when the White Sox face the Royals in Surprise, Ariz. a t 6:05 p.m. CT. Here’s the lineup:

  1. Eduardo Escobar – SS
  2. A.J. Pierzynski – C
  3. Alex Rios – RF
  4. Paul Konerko – 1B
  5. Adam Dunn – DH
  6. Alexei Ramirez – SS
  7. Kosuke Fukudome – CF
  8. Dayan Viciedo – RF
  9. Brent Morel – 3B

For more White Sox spring training coverage from Glendale, Ariz, click here. Find all of Adam Hoge’s spring training blogs here and follow him on Twitter (@AdamHogeCBS).

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