Rios returns after a three-game break

CHICAGO – Nobody had to help Alex Rios find his way to center field.

After not starting the previous three games because he is struggling at the plate, Rios was back in the White Sox lineup Wednesday and playing in center. He carried a .199 batting average into the No. 5 spot in the order.

“I think Rios can be a very important piece in this lineup,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He’s very, very important. This guy can being some speed, bring some power, he can bring a lot of things. The way he’s been struggling for two months, hopefully he can things turn around. The most important thing about it is to make sure he still has confidence and make sure he doesn’t have to worry about it.”

Rios seems to be taking Guillen’s advice and running with it.

“Yeah, I got away from playing a couple of games and it’s good for your head,” he said. “It’s a fresh start and hopefully things turn around and I’m just trying to help the team win with a clear head and a clear mind.”

Rios isn’t delusional, though. He knows things have to change.

“It’s frustrating. I’m embarrassed right now,” Rios said. “It’s something I didn’t expect. The team counts on you and every single player and when you don’t do good, it doesn’t mean you don’t want to do good.

“It’s something that it’s happening right now and like I said, I just want to help the team win and if I start doing that, it’s all good. I don’t worry about stats as you can see. They are pretty bad right now. But if I help the team win, it’s all good.”

He entered play Wednesday 2-for-17 (.118) over his last eight games and 6-for-40 (.150) over his last 12. He has been putting the ball in play, but hasn’t delivered hits consistently.

“I was hitting a couple of balls pretty good at the beginning of the season,” Rios said. “I mean, it just went away. It’s something you don’t know how it happened and I just have to battle through it, fight through it and keep going hard until something happens or until I start helping the team.”