White Sox want blame redirected from Adam Dunn, Alex Rios
By JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org July 13, 2011 12:14AM
The Cubs’ Starlin Castro is tagged out at home plate on a fielder's choice in the fifth inning of the All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Chase Field in Phoenix. | Norm Hall~Getty images
Updated: July 13, 2011 2:15AM
PHOENIX — It’s been open season on the White Sox’ Adam Dunn and Alex Rios the last month, and teammates feel the blame game needs to stop.
‘‘Neither of those guys have been less of a teammate because of the struggles they’ve gone through,’’ captain Paul Konerko said. ‘‘To me, I admire them for that because I could tell you, when I went through those struggles, I don’t think I could say that about myself.’’
Dunn entered the break hitting just .160 with 117 strikeouts, but it’s easy to argue that Rios has had an even worse 2011, hitting .213 with only 21 RBI and a .262 on-base percentage. Dunn has 34 RBI and a .292 OBP.
‘‘These are my teammates,’’ Carlos Quentin said. ‘‘I see what they do every day, I see the work ethic, and I’ve been that guy, I feel like I have. Every player at times feels that way, that they haven’t contributed enough.
‘‘It’s baseball. Things can change quick, but they can change to the good or the bad. There are always going to be fingers pointed. Alex and Adam are as accountable as anyone I know. They want to perform and do well. I don’t think people understand that.’’
Konerko said if fans and media want to point fingers, point them at the entire team.
‘‘Coming out of spring training, there was a lot of hype with our team,’’ Konerko said. ‘‘I think a lot of people thought we would just run away with the division. Teams just don’t do that anymore. It’s not realistic. A lot of pressure was put on us from the outside, so maybe we believed we were as bad as we were because we weren’t running away with it. We didn’t play well a lot of times, but it was really a rough schedule.’’
Handling the hype
Cubs manager Mike Quade didn’t care how Starlin Castro performed on the field Tuesday during the All-Star Game as much as what he saw from him off of it the last few days in Phoenix.
“Now that he’s here, this is really good for him, and he’s handled himself fantastic,” Quade said.
On the field, Castro entered the game in the fifth inning as a pinch-runner and then promptly stole two bases but was tagged out at home on a fielder’s choice. He committed a fielding error in the ninth.
Smile over snarl
Excuse Quentin if his face hurts when he opens the second half in Detroit on Friday. Inflammation caused by smiling for the first time in months can do that to a man.
‘‘I’m a little more relaxed,’’ the tightly wired Quentin admitted of his time back in Arizona for the All-Star Game. ‘‘I had a ton of my teammates tell me, ‘Try and enjoy the game.’ I was like, ‘Well, why am I going to try? I should be able to.’ It counts for something, but it’s also something that should be fun.’’
Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz knows a suspension is coming in the next few days in the wake of his fight with Baltimore Orioles pitcher Kevin Gregg last week. But the face of the Red Sox is ready to appeal it if he thinks the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
‘‘I know there will be some discipline going on with myself,’’ Ortiz said. ‘‘But things got out of hand, and I feel like I’m not the one that started it. We’ll see. They will go through all the videos, so not much I have to say.’’