Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios took issue with manager Robin Ventura removing him from the game after not running out a groundball hard on Friday night, according to Alex Ruppenthal of Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
Chicago was tied 2-2 with the Atlanta Braves, and had runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning. Rios grounded out to the shortstop, and did not run out the play hard enough to Ventura's liking, which prompted the removal.
Rios would have preferred if Ventura had discussed the play with him one-on-one, telling Ruppenthal:
"I'm cool with him. He has to do what he has to do, you know, but the situation could've been handled a little better ... If he wants to send a message to myself, it would've gone through better if he put me in his office and talked to me personally, you know. If he wants to make a statement for the team, it probably worked. But I don't know what his intentions were."
Ventura stated that he wanted to send a message to the team, and that failing to run hard on a groundout is the most punishable act a player can commit:
"Guys, they hit ground balls, they can tell kind of how it comes off the bat and you just get frustrated. It's more just kind of losing the thought when your first thought should be running down the line ... That's the one that you can dictate yourself."
The outfielder had an impressive game on Saturday, going 3-for-5 with a grand slam. Rios is hitting .275/.330/.442 while contributing defensively and on the basepaths. Rios has been the subject of a number of trade rumors, but has indicated that he would like to stay in Chicago.