Rios is earning Chi-town cheers

Alex Rios of the Chicago White Sox. (JAMIE SQUIRE/Getty Images/AFP)

Alex Rios of the Chicago White Sox. (JAMIE SQUIRE/Getty Images/AFP)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:51 PM ET

He will be booed.

For once -- maybe for one at-bat -- couldn't he be cheered by the Rogers Centre fans?

Alex Rios played 809 games in a Blue Jays uniform, with a .285 average, 81 homers and a .786 OPS in six seasons, before being moved in 2009.

He played hurt. He didn't cause any trouble in the clubhouse -- well, there was that one night leaving a charity function.

Yet every time he comes to the plate, he's booed.

Rios underperformed with the Jays, but he was a homegrown player who came up through the system and the Jays gave him the deal. Does that make him the bad guy?

The Boston Red Sox said they offered "half of what they were offering for Roy Halladay" before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline for Rios. The Jays said no.

Some 10 days later, the Chicago White Sox claimed Rios on waivers. Off he (and the $61.7 million US remaining on his contract which runs through 2014) went to Chicago. Amongst Jays fans, Rios had backers, and he certainly has fans at U.S. Cellular Field. He's hitting .318 with a career-high .887 OPS. Rios has 27 doubles, six doubles, 18 homers and 67 RBIs.

Rios may have impressed some White Sox fans, but he has a way to go to reach the level of catcher A.J. Pierzynski, 35. He's hitting .299 with a career-high 23 home runs and 67 RBIs and throwing out 27% of runners attempting to steal going into the weekend ... his best mark since 2003.

Pierzynski is headed to another round of free agency after this season unless he signs an extension, The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays are looking for help behind the plate.

Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Lirano, Brett Myers and Orlando Hudson, who also should be applauded, could be free agents. The Sox have options on Peavy, Floyd, Youkilis and Myers.

The White Sox have gone back to a five-man rotation, courtesy of an off day on Aug. 23. They moved Philip Humber, who threw a perfect game on April 21, to the bullpen. Humber corrected a reporter who referred to the move as a demotion, saying that would be an insult to the relievers.

Humber is 5-5 with a 6.14 ERA in 16 starts including his perfect game on April 21 at Seattle.

Opening-day starter John Danks, underwent shoulder surgery on Monday. He is expected to be ready by spring training.


WHITE SOX AT BLUE JAYS

MONDAY 7:07 p.m. RHP Jake Peavy vs. RHP Carlos Villanueva 

TUESDAY 7:07 p.m. LHP Jose Quintana vs. RHP Henderson Alvarez 

WEDNESDAY 7:07 p.m. RHP Gavin Floyd vs. LHP Ricky Romero 

THURSDAY 7:07 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano vs. LHP Aaron Laffey 


ELLIOTT'S TAKE

This is the second of three consecutive division leaders on the Jays' menu. The New York Yankees took two of three on the weekend and the Texas Rangers come to town next weekend. Who designed this schedule anyway? Former Jays ticket manager George Holm, who often was consulted on schedules? The White Sox are battling the Detroit Tigers for the AL Central lead, and will not be starting half their triple-A roster during the series. On Sunday, the Blue Jays only had one player in their lineup who was there opening day in Cleveland.

PREDICTION

The White Sox take three of four.


WHITE SOX WHO'S HOT

  • A.J. Pierzynski is smoking in the previous 13 games with a .389 average (18-for-47), seven homers and 17 RBIs plus a 1.201 OPS after a homer and a single on Sunday.
  • Adam Dunn, who averaged 40 home runs a season between 2004-10 while "not liking baseball," slumped to 11 in 2011. He has hit more than 12 this season: 31, which is second in the majors, one behind Josh Hamilton. Dunn is batting only .203 with 14 doubles, 76 RBIs and an OPS of .808, thanks to 82 bases on balls.
  • 3B Kevin Youkilis did not have any damage to his left foreman after being hit by a fastball from Athletics reliever Grant Balfour in the ninth on Saturday. Youkilis has 10 homers since changing his Sox June 24.

WHITE SOX WHO'S COLD

  • RP Matt Thornton blew his fourth save and lost his eighth game of the year Saturday against the Athletics, giving up two runs in the eighth. Thornton entered with a one-run lead and allowed a home run to Jonny Gomes, plus singles to Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Carter before being removed. Cespedes later scored the game winner.
  • RHP Francisco Liriano, who starts Thursday, struck out five of the first six hitters he faced Saturday against the A's. A good start? Yes. But it was a bad outing as Liriano allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings.

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