Rios better offensively than in 2011, and happier

Rios better offensively than in 2011, and happier

Rios better offensively than in 2011, and happier
BOSTON -- Alex Rios currently is hitting a comfortable .313 for the first-place White Sox.

That's not comfortable, as in low impact. Not with 13 homers, 52 RBIs and a .403 average over his last 20 games. It's more along the lines of feeling at ease with everything from his approach at the plate to moving back to right field.

But on the counter side of that argument, Rios doesn't believe his .227 average, 13 homers and 44 RBIs in 2011 and overall offensive struggles had anything to do with playing a center field slot where he was less familiar.

"You are talking about taking the defense to offense? You know what, I don't think it did," Rios said. "My problems last year offensively were my mechanics.

"If I had a good offensive year, I don't think people would have noticed the couple of things that happened in center or vice versa. I really separate defense from my offense. I like my defense, being able to run around and make good plays, but I like my offense, too. It's fun having to go out there and compete against a good pitcher."

There's no question that a return to right has helped Rios' overall mind-set.

"Like I said before, it's the position that I grew up in as a player," Rios said. "I played right field in the Minor leagues. I played right field when I came up to the big leagues for years and it's just feels like home.

"It's a little easier than center. You don't have to focus on both sides, you know? You just get that corner and work with it. It makes it so much easier. I'm playing a position I've played for a long time and I feel very familiar with it. It feels natural."