05/26/11 11:26 PM ET
Rios hoping to catch fire in familiar territory
By Arden Zwelling / MLB.com
The center fielder was hitting just .206 with four home runs and 13 RBIs entering Thursday. With 180 at-bats under his belt, Rios' batting average and on-base percentage (.265) are both second worst on the team among everyday players.
"I just don't feel comfortable at the plate," Rios said. "I'm not doing very well and I'm not pleased. But you're going to go through cycles like this. I'm just hoping to get out of this funk quick."
Rios has tried just about everything he can to break out and is hoping a return to Canada could be what finally turns the page. The Puerto Rican played his best years with the Blue Jays, hitting .288 over his first five Major League campaigns, including All-Star seasons in 2006 and 2007.
Rios was especially dangerous in '07, hitting .297 with 24 home runs and 85 RBIs while playing in all but one of Toronto's games.
"I still have plenty of good memories from this great town," Rios said before Thursday's series opener. "But it's just another team that we have to go out and beat."
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen thinks that Rios has been hurt by the simple flukes of baseball, like hitting line drives that fly directly into gloves or ground balls that don't find the hole.
The statistics back him up, as Rios' batting average on balls in play was just .213, which is significantly lower than the team average of .275.
"He went through some bad luck," Guillen said. "Not every day, but he has been hitting some pretty good balls that have been caught.
Designated hitter Adam Dunn is also in an extended slump, hitting just .191 with five home runs and 22 RBIS. He is also leading the Major Leagues in strikeouts going into Thursday's game with 61. The strikeouts are no surprise -- Dunn has led the leagues in whiffs three times in his career -- but typically the 31-year-old remedies that stat with high numbers in the home run and RBI columns.
Dunn has hit at least 38 home runs and 92 RBIs in each of his last seven seasons, but this year he's on pace for just 16 home runs and 69 RBIs.
"With no production from Dunn and Rios, it's going to be hard for us to compete," Guillen said. "I don't want to put pressure on those guys, but that's the truth. We can't rely on [first baseman Paul Konerko] and Carlos Quentin every night."
Several players to get breaks in weekend series
TORONTO -- Ozzie Guillen will be giving a few of his players a break during the team's four game series in Toronto in order to limit wear and tear from playing on the turf at Rogers Centre.
First baseman Paul Konerko is the first candidate for a breather as he served as the team's designated hitter Thursday night while Adam Dunn got his fifth start of the year at first base.
"[Konerko] is a max out ball player," Guillen said. "He bangs himself up mentally so much about hitting and stuff, and sometimes we have to get him out of there to make sure he relaxes a little bit. [Konerko] goes as hard as he can and we want to help his body."
Right fielder Carlos Quentin will also receive at least one day of rest over the next four games.
Quentin has been battling a sore knee for a few games, and while the injury isn't severe enough to hold him out of the lineup, Guillen does not want him testing it too much on the turf.
"We're going to find a place to get him a break," Guillen said. "Carlos for sure will have a day off here in Toronto."
Guillen hoping Sox have better luck in Toronto
TORONTO -- There are a number of factors that make border travel arduous, but Ozzie Guillen has one reason in particular to dislike his trips north of the border -- his team has played lousy baseball in Toronto.
The White Sox were 3-12 in their last 15 games at Rogers Centre, including four-game sweeps in 2008 and 2009. It's part of a greater trend that has seen Chicago go 6-19 in their last 25 against Toronto and lose four straight season series to the Blue Jays.
"I like the city," Guillen said before the opener of a four-game set on Thursday night. "We just haven't been playing well against this ballclub."
The Blue Jays have undergone some dramatic changes to their roster over the past year, however, ushering in a youth movement, especially in regards to their pitching staff.
Guillen was hoping that the new-look Blue Jays would in turn provide new results for his club.
"In the past their pitching has been very good and they have played very well here," Guillen said. "I think the ballclub is a lot different than it was in the past, and hopefully we play better than we did before."
Infielder Mark Teahen took batting practice on Thursday and fielded some ground balls as he recovers from a right oblique strain. He will continue to work out over the next few days before heading to the Minor Leagues for a rehab assignment. Guillen said that the team had yet to determine where Teahen would rehab or for how long.
"We have a plan for him," Guillen said on Thursday. "He swung the bat good today. He might be sore tomorrow but that's normal."
The White Sox are in the middle of their third straight three-city road trip as they struggle through some early-season scheduling difficulties. It's the first time since 1986 that the team has had three consecutive three-city trips, as the team finds itself on the road for 31 of 44 games from April 18 through the end of May.
Despite that, the team boasts a modest 13-15 record on the road this season.
"It's terrible and we don't like it, but we get paid to do this and we can't complain about it," Guillen said. "It's not easy to be out there for that long, but it is what it is."
Arden Zwelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com.g This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.