Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Alexis Rios May Win Full-Time Gig

Alexis Rios, batting .407 with three homers, may be about to keep the right field job all for himself and relegate platoon partner Eric Hinske to the bench. Rios, 25, a righty batter, has been starting against lefties in a platoon with Hinske, 28, a lefty. Hinske has not embarrassed himself in the role, but Rios, who homered again Wednesday, may finally be living up to the spectacular potential projected for him based on his minor league stats. Until now, the Blue Jays have been particularly disappointed with the 6-foot-5, 195-pound slugger's lack of power, as he hit only 10 homers last year. But coaches have taught him to extend his left leg and "sit down" when he is at the plate, a stance that has leveled out his swing and increased his ability to hit for distance. Meanwhile Hinske, who can play the outfield, third, first and DH, may be better suited to come off the bench or spot start when regulars need a rest.