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Alex Rios happy to be going to contending Rangers

Alex Rios is glad be heading contender. The Sox are expected get infielder Leury Garcideal. | Tony Dejak/AP

Alex Rios is glad to be heading to a contender. The Sox are expected to get infielder Leury Garcia in the deal. | Tony Dejak/AP

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Updated: September 11, 2013 6:13AM

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is counting on two things to help make his team a contender again next season — pitching depth and young major-league-ready new faces in the field.

‘‘Retooling’’ rather than ‘‘rebuilding’’ is the aim of a quick turn-around, and Hahn took another two-fold step Friday by trading Alex Rios to the Rangers while opening a spot immediately for touted young outfielder Avisail Garcia. He was acquired two weeks ago from the Tigers in the three-way deal that sent Jake Peavy to the Red Sox.

Garcia, 22, arrived Friday night, too late to start Game 2 of the make-up doubleheader with the Twins. But he will start Saturday in what could be considered the beginning of the new-look Sox.

He pinch-hit in the seventh inning of Game 2, striking out with two men on base. He remained in the game in center field and was hit by a pitch in the 10th inning.

The Sox dropped the first game 7-5 and lost the second game 3-2 in 10 innings.

‘‘We may be seeing a player [Garcia] who could be a very big part of our future, and that’s the reason for some excitement,’’ Hahn said.

‘‘You start with a core of young pitching talent, which is obviously essential to having success and the hardest thing to get in any restoring or rebuilding or retooling. At the same time, in addition to the starting pitching we have, we’ve not only acquired a guy like Garcia who we feel can be a middle-of-the-order impact guy, we’ve also opened up a fair amount of payroll flexibility.

‘‘We started with the young pitching, which made us feel good, and now this flexibility, in addition to a player like Garcia, makes us feel even better that we may be able to turn this around as quickly as possible.’’

By shedding all but $1 million of the remaining $13.5 million owed to Rios in 2014 and what was left for this year, Hahn made it clear that the money will go toward the draft and international signings.

There might be money left for free agents, too.

The trade also is expected to bring another promising Garcia to the Sox, with reports pointing to infielder Leury Garcia, 22.

The Dominican Republic native played in 25 games for the Rangers this year but has been at Class AAA Round Rock recently.

The upside for Rios, 32, is the chance to play for a contending team, which needs him after losing outfielder Nelson Cruz to a 50-game suspension.

‘‘I believe it’s going to be refreshing for myself,’’ Rios said. ‘‘I’m going to go to a team that’s fighting for a playoff spot.’’

Every Sox player knows the team’s poor play led to the sell-off.

‘‘I liked Alex a lot; he was a great teammate,’’ captain Paul Konerko said. ‘‘It’s just another example of how this season unfolded.’’

Konerko mirrors Hahn in hoping the Sox’ fortunes can improve as quickly as they soured.

‘‘You have to realize how quick things can turn,’’ Konerko said, ‘‘and you spin that in a positive way. If it can turn that quickly [as it did this year], who’s to say it won’t turn the other way quickly. That’s what you try to hang your hat on.’’


Twitter: @toniginnetti

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