Tribe's Perez, Sox's Rios exchange words

May, 3, 2012
Levine By Bruce Levine

CHICAGO -- As Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez started to celebrate his team’s 7-5 win on Thursday night, Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios took exception.

[+] EnlargeChris Perez
Mike DiNovo/US PresswireChris Perez said he did not intend to offend with his postgame celebration.

Believing that the demonstrative closer was yelling at him, Rios wasn’t so quick to leave the field. Instead he stared down Perez and began to shout in his direction.

Even as the dust of Chicago’s loss settled, Rios was still somewhat flummoxed.

“I don’t know what was wrong with him,” Rios said. “He just started yelling … for no reason. … When I hit the ground ball and I was running to first, he was yelling (at me) the whole way.”

The brief exchange between the two players escalated no further than a few words, however.

“I couldn’t tell what he was saying, he was just staring and saying something,” Rios said after the game. “If he was celebrating, that is not the right way to do it.”

Perez had a different take on the final out of the game.

“He might of thought I was yelling at him,” Perez said. “I wasn’t. I was yelling at my teammates, happy about the win.

According to both players, there was no past incident or bad blood between them prior to Thursday’s game.

“The only history we have is I gave up a grand slam to him last year,” Perez said. “He is a competitor, I am a competitor. He is on a different team. I am not friends with him. If he is mad I don’t care.”

The two teams play a four-game series in Cleveland beginning on Monday.

“You can use that as motivation in some way,” Rios said. “But let’s just play ball.”

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.



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