Robin Ventura sends message to team, pulls Alex Rios for lack of hustle

The Chicago White Sox have had a rough season to say the least.  Despite  being our blog’s vogue pick to win the AL Central, they sit in last place at 37-56, second worst record in the AL, and are widely considered “sellers” at the trade deadline.  One of those trade pieces is Alex Rios, who has double digit home runs and steals to go with 40+ runs and RBI.  However, Robin Ventura sent a message to his team yesterday by pulling Rios after failing to run out a double play.  According to Scott Merkin of MLB.com

With Alejandro De Aza on third and Alexei Ramirez on first, Rios’ hard-hit grounder to [Atlanta Braves] shortstop Andrelton Simmons looked like a surefire double play. Rios, in turn, did not break quickly from the box.

Simmons bobbled the ball twice as he moved toward second, but with Rios not hustling, the inning-ending double play still was turned. The game was tied at 2 at the time, and two innings later, Rios was replaced in right field by Casper Wells.

Ventura identified that play as the cause for the substitution (according to Merkin/MLB.com)

“That was very related. We expect more than that. It was simple. Nothing more than that.  There’s just expectations, and we’re not starting the second half off that way. He’ll be back in. But tonight, that’s what happens when you don’t run.”

 

The buck stops with Ventura Credit: AP/John Smierciak

The buck stops with Ventura
Credit: AP/John Smierciak

The Sox lost the hard-fought battle to the Braves 6-4 and Rios trade value probably took a bit of a hit as a result.  Robin Ventura was a finalist for Manager of the Year in 2012, his first season of leading the South Side Pale Hose.  It sounds like he’s making sure his team in flux know he’s in charge, and I think it’s the right move.

- David Whitlock (@lhd_on_sports)

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