Three years after claim, Rios proving his value to White Sox

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Three years after claim, Rios proving his value to White Sox

Exactly three years after he was claimed off waivers by the White Sox, Alex Rios was hitting fourth against the Oakland As on Friday night.

Rios, who most teammates believe was an All-Star snub in July, takes the place in the lineup of team captain Paul Konerko, who was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion.

Its the first time this season the former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder will hit cleanup and Robin Venturas selection of Rios to replace Konerko is more validation a risky move made by the White Sox front office has paid off.

When the White Sox claimed him on Aug. 10, 2009, Rios -- who is signed through 2014 and has a 13.5 million club option for 2015 -- was owed roughly 60 million in guaranteed money, the entirety of which was picked up by the club. Rios had struggled with the Blue Jays and continued after his arrival, hitting .199 over the final two months of the 2009 season.

This season, Rios is hitting a team-high .318 with 18 homers and 67 RBIs and has often been mentioned by teammates and coaches as a player critical to the teams success because of his all-around play.

This is the player we were hopeful we were getting, assistant general manager Rick Hahn said Friday.

Rios admits he never saw the move coming.

An All-Star for the Blue Jays in 2006 and 2007, Rios signed a seven-year deal worth 69.835 million only four days into the 2008 season. He believed he would remain with Toronto well into the future.

But in 2009, Rios OPS slipped to .744 with the Jays, more than 100 points below his All-Star performance in 2007.

I didnt expect it, Rios said. I had thought I was going to spend the whole time there.

The White Sox had spoken to the Blue Jays about Rios prior to the July 31, 2009 non-waiver trade deadline, a team source said. The sides explored numerous trade scenarios with Toronto eating some salary in exchange for prospects or the White Sox footing the entire bill with no players going back.

When Rios was placed on waivers, the White Sox had an idea the Blue Jays would allow him to walk and already had the approval of owner Jerry Reinsdorf to add the contract.

We hoped when we made the move was he was going to be a long-term answer for us at one of our outfield positions, Hahn said.

Rios was asked to play center field when he first joined the White Sox and responded well. He hit .284 with 21 homers and 88 RBIs in 2010 and provided above-average defense in center.

Rios overall production slipped in 2011 both in the field and at the plate as the White Sox endured a disappointing 79-83 campaign.

This season, a move to right field has re-energized Rios. He has again provided good defense and is on pace to reach career-high totals in average, home runs, RBIs, runs and slugging percentage.

He's come in motivated and has been the same every day, Ventura said. He comes in and he does a lot of different stuff for us. First, he's really good in right field, made a lot of great defensive plays for us. Offensively, he just always seems to be having great at-bats. Steals bases, he does a lot of different things for us that are positive. Anybody would want a guy like him on your team, because he's been that good this year.

Rios hopes his invitation to play for the White Sox lasts through 2014 and perhaps even 2015. He also knows the waiver claim was just part of the business of baseball.

(The waiver) is part of the game, part of the job, Rios said. I have had a great time here and hopefully I can keep enjoying the rest of my contract here.

Honda Road Ahead: White Sox get set to battle Royals, Orioles

Honda Road Ahead: White Sox get set to battle Royals, Orioles

Siera Santos, Dan Hayes and Bill Melton discuss the White Sox upcoming games in this week's Honda Road Ahead, sponsored by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers. 

Winners of six of the last seven games, the White Sox look to stay scorching when they open up a three-game set against the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

The Royals, who struggled at the plate in April, will be looking for revenge after being swept on the south side last week. 

Following their matchup with the Royals, the Sox wrap up their extended road trip against the Baltimore Orioles. 

The White Sox have been an early suprise in the A.L. Central. As of Sunday, they sit a half-game back of the Cleveland Indians for first place. 

Watch the panel break down the upcoming slate of games in the video above. 

 

White Sox six-game winning streak snapped with series finale loss to Tigers

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AP

White Sox six-game winning streak snapped with series finale loss to Tigers

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers got two things they needed Sunday afternoon.

They put up big runs, got four scoreless innings from their bullpen and ended a four-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

"We've been quiet with the bats, but we got two in the ninth yesterday, so maybe that was the turning point," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "We were much better today, and the pitching held on for us."

Jordan Zimmermann (3-1) picked up a sloppy victory, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks in five-plus innings. He struck out five and gave up one homer.

Miguel Gonzalez (3-1) allowed seven runs on a career-high 14 hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out one as the White Sox lost their six-game winning streak.

"I was up with every pitch, and they were barreling up every mistake I made," he said. "I just need to flush this one and move on."

The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first on Jose Abreu's RBI triple

Justin Upton's fifth homer tied the game in the second. He then led off the fourth with a single, moved to second on Alex Avila's hit and scored on Jim Adduci's double to left-center field.

John Hicks made it four straight hits with an RBI single off Gonzalez to make it 3-1, and Adduci scored when Iglesias grounded out. Nick Castellanos finished the inning with an RBI single to make it a four-run game.

Melky Cabrera answered with an RBI single in the fifth, pulling the White Sox within 5-2, but Iglesias' two-run double in the bottom of the inning put the Tigers up by five.

Todd Frazier led off the sixth with a long homer, but Chicago couldn't score against Blaine Hardy and three other relievers.

TRAINER'S ROOM

White Sox: RHP James Shields, on the disabled list for the first time in his career, threw on Saturday and reported no problems with his strained right lat. After playing light catch for about 40 throws, he said that the way his arm reacts will determine if he will need a rehab start before joining the White Sox.

Tigers: CF JaCoby Jones went 1 for 7 in a rehab doubleheader for Triple-A Toledo on Saturday. Jones, who went on the disabled list on April 23 after being hit in the mouth by a pitch, was making his first rehab appearances.

RENTERIA SAVES GARCIA FROM HIMSELF

Renteria decided to pull Avisail Garcia in the fifth inning, knowing his right fielder wouldn't ask to come out of the game. Garcia has been dealing with groin tightness throughout the series.

"It was pretty wet out there after the rain early in the game, and he only knows how to play at top speed," Renteria said. "I just decided to be safe and get him out of there before it became a problem. Right now, I don't see any reason he wouldn't play tomorrow."

DOING QUICK DAMAGE

The Tigers brought nine batters to the plate in their four-run fourth inning, but faced just 14 pitches from Gonzalez. Every hitter either got a hit or made an out on the first or second pitch of their at-bat.

"We just kept barreling up balls early in the count - there wasn't any plan to attack him," Avila said. "It just happened that way. We knew we needed to get Zimm a lead, and we had a great inning."

IN THE RACE AFTER ONE MONTH

Sunday's loss meant that the White Sox finish May a half-game behind Cleveland in the AL Central, but that's higher than almost anyone predicted for them.

"We're excited, because we're playing well as a team," Gonzalez said. "We lost today, but we won two of three here, and now we want to go to Kansas City and win another series. We believe that we can keep doing this."

UP NEXT

White Sox: RHP Dylan Covey (0-1, 6.91) faces Kansas City LHP Jason Vargas (3-1, 1.40) in the first of a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium. The White Sox swept the Royals earlier this week in Chicago.

Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (1-2, 4.71) takes on Indians RHP Trevor Bauer as Cleveland comes to Comerica Park for four games.