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Alex Rios comfortable in right field, at plate

Lefty John Danks (2-2) picked up victory after going six innings allowing four runs seven hits. | Getty Images

Lefty John Danks (2-2) picked up the victory after going six innings and allowing four runs and seven hits. | Getty Images

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Updated: May 24, 2012 8:28AM



SEATTLE — Alex Rios drove in three runs and had a single, double and triple in the White Sox’ 7-4 victory Sunday against the Mariners.

He continues to play right field at a solid level, and it goes hand in hand with what he’s doing at the plate.

After his .227 disappointment of 2011, he’s having an encouraging start, to say the least.

“He’s been doing that for the last four or five days, staying in the middle of the field,’’ manager

Robin Ventura said. ‘‘He looks good at the plate, and he’s covering a lot of different things. He’s not just hitting fastballs but offspeed pitches, kind of doing everything. He’s pulling the inside pitch and going the other way.’’

Rios looks comfortable at the plate, and “he looks really comfortable in right field,’’ Ventura said. “That’s where it starts.’’

Rios is batting .333 with seven RBI. He said he’s trying to keep things simple.

“I’m just focusing on swinging at good pitches and having a good approach,’’ Rios said.

He knows the drill

Adam Dunn didn’t buy into hitting coach Jeff Manto’s suggestion that he place a medicine ball between his legs during a drill, but after hitting two home runs Friday, he was convinced.

“Jeff is always thinking about new drills,’’ Dunn said. “He came up with another drill I thought was kind of crazy. We started doing it, and I felt like I was getting my balance back. He’s still on the ball.’’

Dunn had been lunging with his front foot, but the drill helped him stay back.

Worth a try

Chris Sale said he’s moving his bullpen day back a day to Monday, a minor experiment to see if it will help his command. Most starters throw 30 to 40 pitches on the side two days after their start, but some, including John Danks , throw on the third day.Sale had 11 strikeouts in 6

1/3 innings Friday, but he allowed seven hits and three walks. Sale threw one changeup for a strike. But his slider was good, and his strikeout total was the most by a Sox starter since Edwin Jackson’s 13 in the 2011 home opener and the most by a lefty since Mark Buehrle’s 12 against the Mariners in April 2005.

Old school

Video coordinator Bryan Johnson dug into the archives for rookie closer Hector Santiago to find video of former left-handed screwball pitchers Fernando Valenzuela, Tug McGraw and Willie Hernandez .

Santiago, who got his fourth save in five chances, threw only one screwball as he looks to rediscover the pitch he said was better for him last season. He attributes that, in part, to higher seams on minor-league baseballs, allowing for a better grip and more spin, but he wants to do everything in his power to make it an important part of his arsenal. Santiago watched the tapes to see how the ball came out of the aforementioned trio’s hands.

“I’m kind of a fastball guy now,’’ Santiago said. “Usually I’m a changeup guy trying to sneak a fastball in, but right now I’m just going after guys.’’



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