GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Alex Rios and Alejandro De Aza just returned from the World Baseball Classic, and it looked like neither missed a beat away from White Sox camp.
Rios doubled twice in three at-bats and drove in two runs while De Aza went 2-for-4 with two runs scored in an 8-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Rios and De Aza returned to their club about 36 hours after they squared off in the WBC championship game at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Rios and his Puerto Rican teammates finished second to De Aza and the Dominican Republic, which won the title game 3-0. But the result didn’t detract from how special the event was for Rios and his countrymen.
“It was a great experience,” Rios said. “Last time we got to the second round, but this time we made a good push for it. The group of guys we had, the combination of young kids and veterans, was perfect for us and it worked out very well. We enjoyed the whole thing. We’re a small island and we want to represent. We know our fans appreciate what we do and we do it with a lot of passion. We took a lot of pride in this event. To get so far in this event, it’s important for the people at home.”
[More: Thursday's White Sox notebook]
De Aza said he didn’t expect for the Dominican Republic to win the title early on in the competition. But he also thinks the pitching he faced has helped him prepare for the regular season with only 11 days left before Opening Day. To prove his point, De Aza singled sharply to right field in his first at-bat and doubled down the line to left field in the sixth inning.
“Everybody was happy there and everybody was together,” De Aza said. “It helped me because I (saw) some pitching early.”
The addition of the two regulars and the return of outfielder Dayan Viciedo from a quad strain gave the White Sox their first semi-regular lineup in weeks. Only starting catcher Tyler Flowers was off on Thursday. The White Sox starting lineup produced 11 of the team’s 13 hits and accounted for all eight of its runs.
“They’re ready to go, I guess,” manager Robin Ventura said of De Aza and Rios. “They’ve logged some innings. It’s nice just to have them back. You get a little more of a flow of how the lineup would go if that’s the way you roll it out. It’s just nice to have them back. They’re ready to go. They had a good time but they got enough work and they look fine.”