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updated: 7/31/2011 12:29 AM

Sox' Rios not affected by benching

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  • Alex Rios was benched earlier this week. Rios returned to the lineup Saturday night against Boston and struggled.

      Alex Rios was benched earlier this week. Rios returned to the lineup Saturday night against Boston and struggled.

 
 

Apparently, Alex Rios needs more than back-to-back games on the bench.

We pause for a quick trade proposal -- Rios to the Cubs for Alfonso Soriano and some cash? Or, Rios to the Cubs for Soriano and nothing?

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Getting back to reality, the White Sox' slumping center fielder returned to the starting lineup Saturday, but watching Alejandro De Aza come up from Class AAA Charlotte and play his position against the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday and the Boston Red Sox on Friday didn't seem to have much of an effect on Rios' overall shaky game.

It was another miserable night for Rios as the Red Sox hammered the White Sox 10-2 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Let's start with his offense.

Rios was 0-for-3 and failed to hit the ball out of the infield. The 30-year-old outfielder is 2-for-18 in his last five games and 10-for-71 in his last 18.

Overall, Rios is batting .207, the second-lowest average in the American League. Teammate Adam Dunn remains your dubious leader at .164, but at least he has drawn 7 walks in his last five games.

Rios has been equally inept on the defensive side, and he made another lackadaisical play in the eighth inning that enraged the big crowd of 33,919.

After White Sox reliever Brian Bruney walked Josh Reddick with two outs, Marco Scutaro singled to right-center, and Rios responded like it was batting practice.

By the time he sauntered over and scooped up the ball, Reddick was steaming toward third base.

Rios' relay throw to second baseman Gordon Beckham was off the mark, enabling Reddick to score from first base on a single.

Surprisingly, manager Ozzie Guillen wasn't overly upset with the play.

"I'm not going to throw the towel in; I'm not going to protect him like everybody thinks I am," Guillen said. "I think that guy (Reddick) should be at third base, no doubt. The bad thing about that play was the bad throw to second base.

"He made a bad throw to second base and that's why he scored. If he threw the ball right there, there's going to be a play at the plate. But the guy was running with the pitch. I think if he made a good throw to Gordon it's a different thing."

Guillen has remained in Rios' corner through all the turmoil this season, but the manager does wonder why a guy with a $70 million contract has simply shut down the engines.

"I'm not down on him," Guillen said. "Just go out there and play the game right. You've got your money, you've got a beautiful family, everybody's healthy, you've got everything you want. Why do you let this game bother you?

"Why not have a little more fun playing the game? If you say you really enjoy this game I don't see that in him. I think every at-bat is killing him. Every at-bat, he worries about it."

Rios declined to talk about his situation Friday and again after Saturday's loss.

General manager Kenny Williams -- the man responsible for claiming Rios off waivers from Toronto almost two years ago -- also was the one who said the outfielder should be on the bench.

"My message was not so much directed at Alex Rios, in terms of giving him a kick in the pants," Williams said. "My message was more so a message to everyone that we're here to win.

"We're here to put the best players out there, who are going to fight the hardest, bust their tail the hardest, regardless of contract size, regardless of their history in the game, just play to win from here on out."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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