Alex Rios said he would have preferred it if manager Robin Ventura talked to him one-on-one for not running hard on a double-play groundout Friday night instead of removing him from the game.
“I’m cool with him,” Rios said Saturday. “He has to do what he has to do, you know, but the situation could’ve been handled a little better … If he wants to send a message to myself, it would’ve gone through better if he put me in his office and talked to me personally, you know. If he wants to make a statement for the team, it probably worked. But I don’t know what his intentions were.”
As Rios guessed, Ventura wanted to make a point to the entire team.
"I mean I understand that, but you're handling 25 guys,” Ventura said. “I get where he's coming from, but from where I'm coming from, he probably understands how I have to do it."
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Ventura said he has not talked with Rios since taking him out of Friday game. He did put Rios in the lineup Saturday, as he said he would after yesterday’s game.
“I was expecting to play today,” Rios said. “I mean, I don’t think that’s a favor for him to put me in the lineup.”
Ventura deemed failing to run out a grounder the most punishable thing a player can do, worse than an error or other lapse in decision-making.
"Guys, they hit ground balls, they can tell kind of how it comes off the bat and you just get frustrated,” he said. “It's more just kind of losing the thought when your first thought should be running down the line … That's the one that you can dictate yourself.”
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With the Sox out of contention, Rios, still an above-average outfielder, is a candidate to be traded before the July 31 deadline, and Ventura said the trade rumors might be getting to him.
"I think for a few guys [it has],” said Ventura when asked whether trade rumors are affecting his players. “ … Maybe subconsciously [Rios] isn't quite where he [normally] is … That's part of it. You have to be able to put that aside."
When asked whether he’s affected by the trade talk, Rios said no, but went on to say “you know it has a little bit to do with that.”
Despite Friday’s incident and the Sox’s 37-56 record, Rios said he wants to stay.
“Of course, yeah,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time here and the guys that are here are nice. The staff is very good and the city is good too. The whole experience, I’ve been so grateful to experience playing in Chicago. It feels like I’m at home right now. You know, I still would like to stay here.”