CHICAGO -- Alex Rios knows he is having the worst season of his career, but at the same time he also knows it's just that -- one season.
"This is just a bad season," the struggling center fielder said. "That doesn't mean this is the end of my career. Obviously, this is a terrible season and nobody wants to have a season like that, but I know what I've done in the past and what I can do in the future."
Rios, who was not in Thursday's starting lineup, is hitting just .207 -- well below his .275 career average -- and has just six home runs and 24 RBIs this season. He went through a similar slump when he first arrived in Chicago after being claimed off waivers from Toronto on August 10, 2009.
After hitting just .199 while playing in 41 games that season, Rios turned things around from his dreadful two months in Chicago in 2009 and hit .284 with 21 home runs and 88 RBIs in 2010. Now on pace for easily his worst batting average for an entire season -- his previous low was .247 in 2009 -- Rios is looking to find his way out of another extended slump.
"It gets to your head," he said. "It's mentally and physically draining. It gets to a point where you almost lose your confidence in yourself, but I haven't gotten to that point yet, because I know I can do a good job on the field."
More recently, fans at U.S. Cellular Field have started showing their displeasure, not just with Rios' offense, but also his play defensively. In Saturday's loss to the Red Sox, Rios allowed Josh Reddick to score from first base on a single to center field after taking too long to get the ball in and then making a throw that was tough to handle for second baseman Gordon Beckham.
Rios was booed again in Wednesday night's loss to the Yankees when a Mark Teixeira base hit skipped past him all the way to the wall, allowing two runs to score on what turned into a triple for Teixeira.
"I mean, you hear them, but you focus on the game," Rios said of the boos. "That's something that you have to deal with and be strong about it. People have to understand that sometimes we're going to make mistakes, it's part of the game.
"And sometimes we're not going to get to balls that are hit to us, and we're not going to try to make an attempt to dive on a ball that you don't need to dive for because you know you're not going to get it."