It came as no surprise that slumping Alex Rios was out of the lineup when the Sox hosted the New York Yankees on Thursday night. What surprised manager Ozzie Guillen was the uproar over Rios playing as much as he has after general manager Ken Williams gave him the green light to bench him despite his huge salary.
After Alejandro De Aza hit a home run in his first at-bat after being brought up from AAA Charlotte, some figured they had seen the last of Rios. But Guillen wasn't about to subject the left-handed hitting De Aza to the three straight left-handers the Sox faced. De Aza played right field Wednesday basically because Paul Konerko, who returned from a calf injury Thursday, was out of the lineup.
"Let me explain to the idiots out there, the genius,'' Guillen said. "They say I no bench Rios, but the only player I bench because he no hustle, it was Rios, for two days, OK?
"Tell these people out there, they think they know baseball more than I do, then send me the lineup that was better without Rios in the lineup. Is Rios not playing well? Of course he's not, he's brutal everywhere.''
But he was still Guillen's best option in center field, Guillen said.
Guillen, pointing out that he benched Rios this season for not hustling, also strongly objected to the notion that he favors Latino players.
"You know how many Latino players I get rid of here?''
"A lot" was the answer.
"Thank you, okay! Every time the people talk about it ... it's a bunch of crap.''