DETROIT -- The focus for the White Sox over the final 74 games remains the same as it was when the season started in April: Get as many victories as possible.
One major change in the last three months is that the White Sox have only won 36 times and lost 53, meaning a number of their players might have new baseball locales by the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31. It's the sort of situation that comes with the game, especially for an underachieving team, but it's not a situation that general manager Rick Hahn wants to take away from his players' preparation or thought process.
While this season is Hahn's first as GM, the open-door policy put in place by Ken Williams before him hasn't changed. And Hahn said that a couple of his players have taken advantage of that policy with questions about their respective future.
"They know if they have a question I'm going to tell them as much as I can tell them," Hahn said. "That started with Kenny 13 years ago. Guys don't have to guess around here what's on our mind. They don't have to guess what's the situation.
"A couple of players in the last few weeks have taken advantage of that to come up and be like, 'Hey, what's going on? Here's what I hope. We'll stay in touch over the next few weeks.' You want to be accessible so they don't have to guess. This is their careers. They have families just like the rest of us. You want to minimize the distractions so the focus can be on winning."
Hahn also understands that slumps fought through by a player such as Alex Rios, whose name has frequently been mentioned in trade talks, could be attached to the pressure of those rumors. In reality, even the best of players go through extended skids over a 162-game schedule, just as they occasionally get six hits in a game, as Rios did Tuesday. The right fielder went 1-for-3 with two walks in Thursday's 6-3 win over the Tigers.
"You get distracted at this time of year by rumors and by whatever else is floating around in the clubhouse or in the media, but that's not on them to worry about," Hahn said. "Our hope is to win as many ballgames from this point forward. The other things we'll take care of as opportunities arise. Winning is the most important thing still."
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.