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updated: 7/27/2011 7:05 PM

White Sox shake things up and get a win

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  • Chicago White Sox closing pitcher Sergio Santos left, celebrates with teammate Alejandro De Aza after defeating the Detroit Tigers 2-1 Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field.

      Chicago White Sox closing pitcher Sergio Santos left, celebrates with teammate Alejandro De Aza after defeating the Detroit Tigers 2-1 Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
    associated press

 
 

Wednesday's trade that eliminated Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen from the White Sox was big news, and it overshadowed a potentially bigger story.

Not only was Alejandro De Aza brought up from Class AAA Charlotte to take Teahen's roster spot, he started for the White Sox in center field.

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Clearly, Sox general manager Kenny Williams has seen enough of Alex Rios, who is batting .208 with 6 home runs and 23 RBI and had performed with general disinterest for much of the season.

"Rios is going to have to take a back seat," Williams said. "We are going to see if De Aza can give us a little bit of a spark and provide us a way to manufacture some runs."

As if on cue, De Aza hit a 2-run homer off Tigers starter Max Scherzer in his first at-bat and he also played defense with much more life that Rios.

Once again, the White Sox pitched very well against Detroit Wednesday, with starter John Danks getting strong support from relievers Chris Sale and Sergio Santos.

But in the end, it was De Aza who was taking the biggest bows after the Sox' 2-1 win.

"I'm happy I'm here," De Aza said after hitting his first major-league home run. "Thank God they gave me the opportunity to do the little things I was supposed to do. I was trying to do my best, get a hit, and big things happen."

Manager Ozzie Guillen still makes out the lineup card, and he strongly hinted the right-handed hitting Rios is going to play in place of the left-handed De Aza on Saturday and Sunday when the Red Sox start left-handers Jon Lester and Andrew Miller.

"I'm going to make the lineup like I always make it," Guillen said. "I'm going to make the best lineup I think is going to help this ballclub and see what happens."

That's not to say Guillen wasn't impressed with De Aza's debut game Wednesday.

"Be in the right place at the right time," Guillen said. "The way we swing the bat, wow. We faced a pretty good pitcher (Max Scherzer) today; this guy was throwing the ball pretty good and they played good against us today. Sometimes when you run into one and you get lucky about it, but this kid, we've liked him since spring training.

"We didn't have space for him to come on the 25-man roster but I think he's going to see some playing time and hopefully he can help us."

Keeping Rios on the bench would be costly, considering he's making $12 million this season and next and $12.5 million in 2013-14.

But Williams has apparently seen enough, and he doesn't care what kind of money Rios is making.

"Here's what I told Ozzie: 'Do not worry about the size of the contracts,'" Williams said. "Just worry about putting the players out there on a given day that can win. The size of the contract is not Ozzie's problem. It's not Jerry (Reinsdorf's) problem. It's not the coaches' problem. That's my problem. Put the players on the field that can win.

"I don't give a darn if one guy is making $400,000 and the other guy is making $12 million. Have the best players play. Give us the best opportunity to win. Throw the contracts and salaries aside. If we've got $20 or $30 million sitting on the bench, then that's a Kenny Williams problem. That's not Ozzie's problem. We'll have pretty good pinch-hitters."

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