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Ozzie: Rios benching a message to team

DENVER – Trying to move forward after the chaos that was Tuesday night’s defeat to the Colorado Rockies, manager Ozzie Guillen did his best to not single out Alex Rios.

Rios was pulled from Tuesday’s game by Guillen for a lack of hustle, but was right back in center field Wednesday.

“I don’t think I send the message to him, I just send the message to the team,” Guillen said. “I think the worst thing that can happen to any manager is when the players don’t play the game right. I’m a big baseball fan. We have people in the stands watching us play. As long as I’m here, I’m not going to let it happen.”

Guillen had previously mentioned concerns about Rios’ body language. He’s said the same thing about Gordon Beckham. In Rios’ case, he had finally seen enough Tuesday night.

“Once in a while you’re sleeping there, another guy is mad; I let [that] go,” Guillen said. “But when that comes more often, then I’m going to lose respect for the game [by not doing anything about it]. And I’m not going to let that happen. If you got problems, my door is always open. I don’t try to send a message to him. I just told the people we have to play the game the right way.”

Guillen is well aware that outbursts move the needle on a national level, but he insists he doesn’t go off on players for fame or fortune as it has been suggested.

“It’s not about me, it’s about baseball,” he said. “It’s not about Ozzie mad at the players. Of course I have to be mad. Why? Because I don’t like the way they’re playing. They should be mad.”

To Rios’ credit, he didn’t flip out or cause a rift publically, saying only that Guillen did what he had to do.

“I don’t have nothing against Rios,” Guillen said. “It’s not that he’s not playing today. He’s back in the lineup. I expect better things. I never criticize my players for being 0-for-4 or striking out, but I will criticize my players when they’re not playing the way they should be playing.”