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Alex Rios on Opening Day: ‘I’m going to be ready;’ Sox put John Danks on DL

KANSAS CITY MO - SEPTEMBER 18: Alex Rios #51 Chicago White Sox smiles as he walks through dugout after hitting

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 18: Alex Rios #51 of the Chicago White Sox smiles as he walks through the dugout after hitting a home run against the Kansas City Royals in the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium on September 18, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

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Updated: April 28, 2013 6:54AM



GLENDALE, Ariz. — While downplaying the significance of his stiff lower back, Alex Rios still felt soreness Tuesday but said he plans on playing in one of the two White Sox’ two exhibition games in Milwaukee.

If not then, for sure by Opening Day against the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field, Rios said.

‘‘There’s nothing. There’s just pain,’’ Rios said. ‘‘There’s nothing to be worried about. I think it’s just going to take time to heal.’’

If it does take time, that would be something to worry about, depending on how long. Rios seemed to be walking somewhat gingerly in the clubhouse Tuesday morning but kept a smile on his face a day after having an MRI exam that he said was clean. Rios said the back felt better and ‘‘looser’’ Tuesday morning.

‘‘It was easier to get out of bed and do some stuff,’’ he said. ‘‘But certain moves, I still feel a little pinch, but I should be fine.’’

General manager Rick Hahn said Rios is on pace to be ready for Opening Day.

‘‘I’m going to be ready,’’ Rios said.

Roster moves

As expected, left-handed pitcher John Danks was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to March 22) to continue his recovery from surgery on his left shoulder. Left-hander Leyson Septimo was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left shoulder, and lefty David Purcey was reassigned to minor-league camp. The Sox have 31 players left in major-league camp.

Sale’s force

Opening Day starter Chris Sale was sharp in his final tuneup Tuesday, allowing one hit — a homer to the Texas Rangers’ Geovany Soto in the third inning. Sale, who added a changeup against left-handed hitters to his arsenal this spring, emphasized that pitch over his four-inning, 50-pitch workout. He struck out five and walked none while improving to 4-0, the best record in the Cactus League.

‘‘We are out of the ‘getting your work in’ stage and really starting to prepare for the season,’’ Sale said. ‘‘We wanted to treat this as much like a regular-season game as I could.’’

Bo knows openers

Bo Jackson, the former Sox and Royals outfielder and designated hitter who is generally regarded as one of the best athletes of all time, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at U.S. Cellular Field on Opening Day.

Jackson, a football-baseball star who played on the 1993 American League West champion Sox, was designated the ‘‘Greatest Athlete of All Time’’ by ESPN’s Sports Science. He homered against the New York Yankees at Comiskey Park in his first at-bat of the season in 1993 after he returned from hip-replacement surgery. On Sept. 27 of that season, he hit a three-run homer against the Seattle Mariners at Comiskey Park to help the Sox clinch the division.

Only standing-room tickets are available for Monday’s game. The Sox host the Royals at 3:10 p.m.

This and that

Hector Santiago is slated to start the exhibition in Milwaukee on Friday with all or most of the relievers following. For Saturday’s game at Miller Park, Dylan Axelrod, Jose Quintana and Gavin Floyd will pitch.

◆ The Sox will hold a workout at U.S. Cellular Field at 10 a.m. Sunday.



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