Kansas City Royals: Alex Rios Is Back


Alex Rios’ return to the Kansas City Royals after a six-week stay on the disabled list was delayed 24 more hours by rain Saturday.

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As long as the rain can hold off in Chicago, he’ll make his first start in right field since April 13 against the Cubs today.

When Rios was hit by a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in mid-April, it was a huge blow for the Royals’ offense. The journeyman was hitting .321 with a home run and eight RBI in just seven games.

He gave the home fans a show in his first game as a Royal, going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in a 10-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Sure it had only been a week, but everyone was now feeling great about the one-year, $11 million contract Rios signed in December of last year.

Time will tell if Rios can pick up where he left off, but there is no reason to think he won’t at least be an offensive upgrade from fill-ins Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando.

Dyson’s speed is always great to have on the base paths, but his offense (.219 batting average, o home runs, 2 RBI) is just not good enough to justify a starting role.

Orlando’s story is incredible. After nine years in the Minor Leagues, he finally got his shot. The Brazil native got off to a blazing start with five triples in the first few weeks of the season.

However, that was the highlight of his offense. Despite connecting on his first Major League home run last week against the Yankees, Orlando was hitting just .241 with seven RBI.

He was optioned to Triple-A Omaha Saturday.

With Rios, a career .279 hitter, the Royals can insert an established Major Leaguer in to the lineup with a host of could-be All-Stars that will only strengthen the offense.

After scoring just five runs during a four-game losing streak last week, the Royals jumped on the Cubs Friday with eight runs in a victory.

Although every team experiences a four-game losing streak during the season, it was the first for Kansas City and minor panic started to set in with Royals Nation.

The Friday game helped ease that, and now with Rios (who is a sold outfielder as well) the excitement should only grow.

Rios isn’t going to end the season as the team’s MVP, but he is going to provide veteran leadership to the clubhouse, and solid offensive numbers when all is said and done.

From top to bottom now (yes, Omar Infante included) there isn’t a weak offensive bat in the lineup.

That’s a scary thought for the rest of the American League.

Next: Phil Coke Could Add Depth To Bullpen

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