Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Comeback story: Rios is White Sox's MVP
By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- There have been many important contributions to the Chicago White Sox's success story this season. You can probably make a case for any number of players being the key to the team’s position atop the American League Central.
Alex Rios is close to setting career-highs in home runs and RBIs this season.
These days as you walk around the clubhouse, one name comes up more often than others.
"Alex Rios and (A.J.) Pierzynski have been their best players,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “No question Rios has been big for them all season."
Rios is coming off his worst season in 2011 when he batted .227 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs, but he has rebounded this season with 23 home runs and 85 RBIs to go along with a .293 batting average going into play on Tuesday.
But the modest Rios won’t take the credit he deserves.
“I have had good seasons before,” Rios said. “In Toronto you don’t get the media attention you get here in the States. Maybe this season people are seeing some things I am capable of.”
The numbers have been impressive, but the overall play has put him up with the elite players in the league.
“I really don’t want to talk about my numbers,” Rios said. “I would rather talk about the team and our accomplishments as a group. I certainly understand that it has been a great year for me and the team. I have been consistent thoughout the season and so have many of my teammates. That is how you have a good season as a team.”
The numbers have been there all season, and here's another impressive one: He's hitting .352 with runners in scoring position which speaks volumes about the impact Rios has had on the White Sox.
“When you drive in runs you reach your goal as a team,” Rios said. “I don’t mind talking about that. Runs equal wins.”
Rios became the only player in franchise history to have two seasons with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Although Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout are the favorites for the AL MVP award, Rios should be a top-five candidate.
“Those things take care of themselves,” Rios said. “We as a team are concerned with just the one trophy. That’s the one that says World Series Champions.”