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Deserving Rios needs support for All-Star bid

Deserving Rios needs support for All-Star bid

CHICAGO -- There's a scary fact about Alex Rios' amazing opening 10 weeks to the 2010 season, aside from his lofty numbers not getting him into the top 15 American League outfield vote-getters among the latest round of online All-Star results released Monday.

Even with the impressive statistics posted by the veteran center fielder, White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker believes those results should be even greater. Yes, a .317 hitter has found a little tough luck, believe it or not.

"As good as he's been, Alex has hit the ball better than what he's got," said Walker of Rios. "But that's good, because it hasn't bothered him. His work is extremely consistent and his mindset is consistent."

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A byproduct of that mind-and-body consistency is Rios' 13 home runs, team-high 15 doubles, 31 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. And now, he needs support from the White Sox fans to make a run at the Midsummer Classic.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites using the 2010 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot sponsored by Sprint until July 1 at 10:59 p.m. CT. Sprint subscribers can now vote on the go with select Sprint devices. They can learn more about how to vote on their smart phones at MLB.com/Sprint.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2010 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS on July 4. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Sprint.

And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2010 All-Star Game MVP Vote sponsored by Sprint.

The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.

For an added bonus, Rios has scored a team-high 42 runs with just 26 strikeouts in 218 at-bats. He also has a .573 slugging percentage and a .378 on-base percentage. This effort represents a huge step up from Rios' miserable .199 run during his 2009 inaugural stint with the White Sox, but the tremendous bounce-back effort was expected by anyone familiar with Rios' body of work.

"When we signed Rios, [he] made it easier for me when I made the comment, 'Wait for Rios next year,'" White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Wow. I'm not a genius, I've seen this kid play before. I know what kind of tools he has."

"He's approaching the season the way really good players approach the season," said Walker of Rios. "They come in even keel, do their work every day with a purpose. He's brought it every day. He shows the same even-keel attitude that leads to a lot of really good players going out and playing really good baseball. He's at peace with baseball this year, and he's a great talent."

Paul Konerko is another White Sox position player who deserves All-Star consideration. The first baseman currently is in the midst of a 20-for-46 stretch, with five doubles, three homers, 14 RBIs and nine walks in his past 13 games. Konerko has pushed his average to .291, going along with his club-best 17 home runs and 46 RBIs.

In-stadium voting began at U.S. Cellular Field on May 3 and ends on June 23, the latest for any stadium in Baseball.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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