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Saturday, July 20, 2013
Alex Rios owns up to baserunning gaffe

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios owned up to his mistake on the basepaths Friday night while also saying that he wished the whole incident could have been handled differently.

Rios, who is rumored to be potential trade bait for the White Sox, was taken out of Friday’s game against the Atlanta Braves when he failed to run hard to first base on a ground ball to shortstop.

Rios probably would have been safe on the fifth-inning play since there was a misplay in the field, but the Braves were able to complete a double play and prevent the White Sox from scoring a run.

The Braves eventually won the game 6-4.

“Well, it’s a situation that none of us want to be a part of,” said Rios, who was back in the lineup Saturday, starting in right field and batting third. “It’s unacceptable behavior, and there’s a little bit of frustration in that behavior. I’m not using that as an excuse for what happened. It could’ve been managed in a better way, but it’s something that shouldn’t have happened.”

The veteran was asked how he felt it could have been handled and if he was referring to manager Robin Ventura’s decision to replace him with Casper Wells in right field.

“If he wants to send a message to myself, it would’ve gone through better if he put me in his office and talked to me personally, you know,” said Rios, who left the ballpark Friday before media gained access to the locker room after the game. “If he wants to make a statement for the team, it probably worked, but I don’t know what his intentions were. But that’s what I wanted to see.”

Ventura had no problems with how Rios viewed the entire incident.

“I understand that, but again, you're handling it for 25 guys,” Ventura said. “I get where he's coming from, but from where I'm coming he probably understands how I have to do it.”

Rios refused to blame trade talk for recent struggles and subsequent frustration, but the speculation could be wearing on him. Up until May 22 (45 games), Rios was batting .306 with a .372 on-base percentage and a .555 slugging percentage. Over the next 46 games, most of which has been in the thick of trade speculation, Rios has a .235/.282/.313 line.

Ventura is well aware of how trade talk can affect a player’s performance.

“In the past, I played with guys, and there is a frustration; it happens,” Ventura said. “I don't know, maybe your subconscious isn't as sharp for you to focus on what you need to because your name's always brought up. You have to be able to put that aside and just play.”

“Well, when you’re not winning, everything is hard, you know?” Rios said. “Even simple things become harder because there’s no energy, or whatever you want to call it, involving the whole situation. Unfortunately, we’re not having the season that we wanted to have, but there’s not much you can do but grind.

“I expect a lot of myself. I go out every night and try to do my best every night. I try to go hard every night, and, lately, I haven’t been performing the way I want to perform, and that’s the base of my frustration. But, like I said, it doesn’t matter; I’m not using that as an excuse, but you know it has a little bit to do with that.”