Rios proving All-Star worthy as ballot is released

Rios proving All-Star worthy as ballot is released

CHICAGO -- Alex Rios was selected as an American League All-Star in both the 2006 and '07 seasons.

The White Sox right fielder deserved consideration in 2012, when he went into the break with a .318 average, 12 homers and 49 RBIs. And Rios will be in the running again in 2013 thanks to a hot start that has him hitting over .300 with five homers.

There's a chance for White Sox fans to show their ardent support for Rios, as he's one of nine White Sox players on the official 2013 All-Star ballot. In-stadium balloting starts at U.S. Cellular Field on April 25 and ends on June 28.

"I can't say enough good things about him," said White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto. "With what he's done, not only the beginning part of last year and taking it on into the winter and through Spring Training, I'm very excited for him."

"Obviously I feel very good. I feel very confident of the things that I'm doing right now," Rios said. "I'm just trying to take the same things that I did last year and I'm trying to bring them to this year to this season. I'm focusing on my approach. I'm trying to have good at-bats, swing at better pitches. Pitch selection is a big part of hitting."

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, July 4, at 10:59 p.m. CT.

Fans may submit twenty-five (25) online ballots during the voting period, but can also earn a one-time bonus of ten (10) additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, visit www.mlb.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.

Fans can also once again participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2013 Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 7 p.m. CT on Monday, July 15.

The 2013 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7, on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com on MLB.com.

And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Joining Rios on the ballot from the White Sox is Paul Konerko at first base, Gordon Beckham at second, Alexei Ramirez at shortstop, Jeff Keppinger at third, Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo in the outfield and Adam Dunn at designated hitter. Tyler Flowers, who is a first-year starter at catcher, also is making his first appearance on the All-Star ballot.

Ramirez has never been selected as an AL All-Star, despite winning a Silver Slugger Award and being considered as one of the top defensive shortstops. He has jumped out to an unusually solid April start with his average above .285.

As for Rios, he seemed to find something last year in regard to his thought process at the plate that has carried over in the 2013 campaign.

"I've tried to focus on one at-bat at a time. That's how you should be. You don't take four at-bats at the same time," Rios said. "You take one at-bat and try to do the best you can with that at-bat. If you have a good approach and you do things the right way, it won't guarantee good results, but it will minimize the percentage of errors.

"I just never focus on anything else but the game. When the game is over, I just go home and do my stuff that regular people do. I don't try to listen to good critics or bad critics. I just try to stay neutral and live a regular life."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.