When Robin Ventura and the Chicago White Sox got Alex Rios back from the World Baseball Classic healthy, they had to know they had just jumped a huge hurdle. Now, with the season looming every closer, Rios has come down with a back injury that could keep him out of the starting line-up on opening day.
Rios claims that the injury is nothing bad, it just hurts. To me, if his back hurts bad enough that he cannot go out and play a few innings, it’s bad enough. It is kind of strange how it is working out because while Rios downplays the injury, he also refuses to go into the batting order for the day because the pain is almost bad enough not to even get out of bed. How can his back hurt that bad and it not be a problem?
Regardless of whether it is officially a problem with his back or just nagging pain, it has kept him out of the line-up anyway. That is clearly the same difference. The best case for the White Sox now is that the back problems suddenly get better before opening day. Otherwise the non-problematic back will cost Rios a few games at best.
The odd twist of this happening after a healthy World Baseball Classic might be a little misleading. Even though he came back technically saying he was healthy, it is greatly possible that he was injured in some way as a result of playing those games in the WBC. Either way, White Sox fans hope to see Rios in the line-up on Opening Day.