Rios glad to be back in rhythm of camp

PHOENIX -- Alex Rios returned to the Chicago White Sox lineup on Thursday after spending three weeks with team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox right fielder will bat third in the lineup in 2013.

“I enjoyed the experience of the WBC,” Rios said Friday. “The one thing I missed was my spring training routine. I still have a few days to get my routine down. For me spring training is never too long. I use all the extra time to my advantage. The WBC schedule was terrible. Time was used in different ways.”

Alejandro De Aza was also gone for 19 days playing center field for the Dominican Republic.

“I think playing very serious games has made me a little more ready for the season,” De Aza said. “The games were fun and winning is the nicest part .”

De Aza is looking forward to the regular season.

“I put numbers and what I want to do as a goal, but prefer to keep that private. I certainly have goals.”

Roster moves: It appears there is only one bullpen spot open on the Sox’s 25-man roster. Jesse Crain's groin strain may create an extra bullpen opening if he starts the season on the DL.

Ramon Troncoso, Brian Omogrosso and Jeff Gray are battling for the extra spot.

Axelrod’s chance?: Dylan Axelrod has a leg up on the fifth starter’s role. With John Danks starting the season on the DL, Axelrod appears to be the club’s first choice to replace him.

“You know, I have not heard anything official,” he said. “I will not put the cart before the horse. If it works out that way, then I am looking forward to helping this team any way I can.”

Axelrod has started 10 games and pitched in a total of 18 games in his brief major league career (3-2 4.76 ERA).

Quintana’s outing: White Sox No. 3 starter Jose Quintana pitched Friday like he was ready to begin the 2013 regular season right now.

The left-hander threw 5.2 innings, allowing two hits and two runs while walking three and striking out a club-spring training high nine Oakland batters in a no-decision.

“My fastball was working really well,” said Quintana through a team translator. “I threw all of my pitches but my fastball was the main pitch.”

Quintana faded badly in the second half of 2012, ending 2-5 after a 7-4 start to the season.

“I worked on getting my legs stronger (in the offseason) and I feel really good,” he said.