Ventura perplexed by persistent booing of Rios in Toronto

Ventura perplexed by persistent booing of Rios in Toronto
April 18, 2013, 4:45 pm
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TORONTO -- Alex Rios said the boos that have cascaded down on him this week from his old team’s fans haven’t been a bother.  

But the non-stop negative reception the White Sox outfielder has received from patrons of the Rogers Centre has made his manager a little curious.

“You hear it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I don’t quite understand it. They pay for their tickets, so they can do what they want.”

Part of Ventura’s confusion is because Rios never chose to leave the Blue Jays, whom he played for from 2004 until the White Sox claimed him off waivers in August 2009. Rios -- who signed a seven-year, $69.835 million deal with Toronto in April 2008 -- hit .285 in six seasons with the Blue Jays and was a two-time All-Star.

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It’s not unusual for a player to be booed, Ventura said. Former teammate Albert Belle was rudely welcomed every time he returned to Cleveland with the White Sox.

But Belle chose to leave the Indians and opted to sign with their division rivals.

“Stuff like that happens,” Ventura said. “It’s not unusual in that way. But I find it odd -- they let him go. It’s not like he demanded it. … He’s a good player. A good person, too.”

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For his part, Rios said the treatment he receives is the same in other cities.

He has hit .234 with three homers and six RBIs in 15 games against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. But overall, Rios has hit .291 with seven homers and 16 RBIs in games against his old team.

“Every time we go on the road, we get this kind of treatment,” said Rios, who said the topic has gotten a little old. “It’s no different here. The way I see it, it’s another team we have to come and beat. So it’s no different than playing Kansas City, Boston or any other team. So it’s just the same. … We’re just here to do our job and perform the way we’re supposed.”