But instead of punishing his veteran outfielder even further by sitting him for today’s contest, Ventura plugged Rios right back into his lineup.
Although Rios said he didn’t exactly agree with how his skipper handled his lack of effort from the night before, he told the media before today’s game that him and Ventura were “cool”. And to his credit, Rios shrugged off his benching beautifully with a monster afternoon from the plate.
Going 3-for-5 with a grand slam and five runs batted in, Rios carried the White Sox to a 10-6 victory over the first-place Braves.
Rios’ slam in the third was his first homerun since June 9, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for both him and the White Sox. His blast gave Chicago a 5-4 lead, which they never relinquished behind a strong outing from starter Jake Peavy.
With his benching the night before and the consistent trade rumors surrounding him, there’s no doubt Rios entered today’s game with a handful of distractions. Hopefully, he and the Sox can carry Saturday’s offensive outburst over to tomorrow and start to build some momentum as baseball’s second half begins to pick up.