WASHINGTON, D.C. -- April has always been a decent month for Alex Rios but the outfielder is off to an incredible start.
Rios heads into Wednesday’s game riding a 13-game hitting streak dating back to last season. He also has homered in four straight games and has a .407/.467/.852 slash line after 30 plate appearances.
Teammate Paul Konerko said Rios is as locked in as he has seen him and as long as he makes good decisions at the plate, Konerko expects it will continue.
“ Where he’s at right now with his swing and everything, if he swings at strikes and good pitches to hit, it’s almost impossible for him not to do damage,” Konerko said. “He’s just that good right now. It just comes to down to getting good pitches to hit.”
Rios homered in the ninth inning on Tuesday off Nationals closer Rafael Soriano. While he traditionally has hit well in April as his career .281/.332/.453 line suggests, manager Robin Ventura believes Rios received a boost when he played for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.
“He got into regular game mode more than anyone else, playing that many games and having to be ready right away” Ventura said. “I think in some instances, that’s helped him out.”
Rios’ contributions haven’t been limited to his bat. In Tuesday’s loss, Rios stole a base and also had two outfield assists.
Report on Danks good
Ventura said he received good reports on John Danks’ appearance in extended spring training on Wednesday. The left-hander threw at least 70 pitches and his velocity sat at 89, Ventura said. In previous performances, Danks’ fastball mostly sat between 85-87 mph, Ventura said.
Cooper still out
Pitching coach Don Cooper remained under observation on Wednesday and still could make the trip to Cleveland with the club late Thursday, Ventura said. Cooper was hospitalized early Tuesday morning with diverticulitis. He’s well enough to talk, but Ventura doesn’t know how long the veteran coach will be gone.
The White Sox wrap up a three-game set in Washington on Thursday and afterward head to Cleveland for three games. Their road trip then continues on to Toronto on Sunday night where the Sox play four against the Blue Jays.
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“He doesn’t feel great, but there’s a probability he will be going with us to Cleveland,” Ventura said. “He still has a little bit of time before he has to leave the country. I know we joke about it, but it’s one of those things where when he feels better, he’ll be on the road with us.”