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Sox players have to get used to change

8/9/2013

CHICAGO -- The loss of teammates due to a lost season on the field was no surprise to the Chicago White Sox players who remain on the club.

Alex Rios is the latest casualty of a horrendous baseball campaign that has management changing the fabric of the 25-man roster on the fly.

Rios was traded to Texas Friday for a player to be named later who is expected to be infielder-outfielder Leury Garcia. The long faces in the clubhouse after a 7-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins in the first game of a doubleheader were part mental fatigue and part the realization that another baseball brother had to be sacrificed for the future.

"I liked Alex a lot," Sox captain Paul Konerko said. "He was a great teammate, fun to be around. This is one of the reminders that this is part of the business. The way things have unfolded this year in my mind, these situations aren't about if rather than when. I am real happy for him. It wouldn't surprise me if he goes there and gets real hot."

Sox manager Robin Ventura has the dubious task of keeping his team focused on the field. The coaching staff must get the players' attention while the front office continues to make deals and chop away at the payroll.

"I don't know if it is [a distraction] with the rest of the guys in here," he said. "It is one of those things now where they have seen it [with four trades] but hopefully it is not a distraction the way it was before."

The personal loss of teammates and friendships has taken its toll on the remaining White Sox players.

"We have no one to blame but ourselves," said John Danks, who allowed three earned runs in six innings Friday in a no-decision. "We wish [the traded players] all well. We are going to have to play better. We all have pride, none of us like losing. We have more to worry about than what [management's] plan is. We just have to go out and play ball. Whoever puts on the uniform with us is here."

Gone from the strong group of veterans are Rios, Jake Peavy, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain.

"It is tough because you see the changing of the guard with some of these guys going," said Gordon Beckham, who, in his fifth season, is now one of the most tenured players in the White Sox clubhouse. "Hopefully we will keep most of the guys we have in here. I don't think we are that far off. We just have to keep playing hard and not lose anyone else."

That may be wishful thinking with Adam Dunn clearing waivers and going into his last contract year in 2014. Konerko, a would-be free agent, is also facing a crossroads in his outstanding 16-year career. He must decide whether to retire or play elsewhere in the very near future.

It is clear that change is the only constant that White Sox players can cling to until the 2014 season begins.