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Alex Rios takes blame for lack of hustle but says Robin Ventura could have handled it better

Updated: August 22, 2013 7:02AM

White Sox outfielder Alex Rios admitted Saturday he was at fault for not running hard to first base on a play in the fifth inning Friday, a mistake that caused manager Robin Ventura to bench him. But Rios said he would have preferred Ventura to talk with him privately.

‘‘It’s a situation that none of us wants to be a part of,’’ Rios said. ‘‘It’s unacceptable behavior, and there’s a little bit of frustration in that behavior. I’m not using that as an excuse for what happened. It could’ve been managed in a better way, but it’s something that shouldn’t have happened.’’

Rios was back in the lineup Saturday against the Atlanta Braves and helped the Sox earn a 10-6 victory by hitting a grand slam and driving in five runs. Ventura said that the situation was over but that he was making a statement to the team.

‘‘It was simple, and it was handled,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘I understand [Rios being upset], but you’re handling it for 25 guys. I get where he’s coming from. But from where I’m coming from, he probably understands how I have to do it.’’

Rios was batting with Alejandro De Aza at third and Alexei Ramirez at first with one out in the fifth. He hit a sharp grounder to short, and the Braves turned an inning-ending double play when Rios failed to run hard to first. Had he beaten the
relay, De Aza would have scored.

Rios, who has been mentioned as a trade candidate, said his frustration was partly to blame.

‘‘The whole picture is that I haven’t been doing what I expect myself to do on a daily basis,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s been quite a little bit of time where I haven’t been performing very well, and I expect better from myself. So that’s the frustration that I’ve been talking about.

‘‘If [Ventura] wants to send a message to myself, it would’ve gone through better if he put me in his
office and talked to me personally. If he wants to make a statement for the team, it probably worked. But I don’t know what his intentions were. But that’s what I wanted to see.’’

Ventura said players do get frustrated at the plate, then lose focus.

‘‘Your first thought should be running down the line, that’s it,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a simple thing. It’s handled, and you go from there.’’

Rios said things were fine with Ventura.

‘‘He has to do what he has to do, but the situation could’ve been handled a little better,’’ Rios said. ‘‘But he has to do what he has to do.’’

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