Rios returns to Chicago in midst of playoff hunt

Rios returns to Chicago in midst of playoff hunt

CHICAGO -- Friday was a sort of homecoming for many Texas players, as seven current Rangers have spent a portion of their careers in the Windy City.

The headliners were catcher A.J. Pierzynski -- who played for the White Sox from 2005-12 and received a first-inning video tribute -- and outfielder Alex Rios, who spent five years on Chicago's South Side before being dealt to Texas on Aug. 9.

Rangers relievers Neal Cotts and Jason Frasor (White Sox) and former Cubs Matt Garza, Jeff Baker and Geovany Soto also share the Chicago connection.

"We were joking that when we first got Rios, he got a couple of big hits for us. I was like, I told [manager Ron Washington], 'You need those White Sox guys to carry the Rangers to victory,'" Pierzynski said. "Then Soto got a hit, and I was like, 'It's just Chicago guys.'"

While Pierzynski left as a free agent, Friday marked Rios' two-week anniversary as a Ranger.

"Being on the other side, it's a little weird," Rios admitted in U.S. Cellular Field's visiting clubhouse. "But, for myself, it's a good thing. I'm on a contending team. It's something I've never experienced before and it's been great so far."

Rios slid right into the Rangers clubhouse, saying he was welcomed with open arms. He's also played well (.286, three RBIs, eight runs) in 12 games with the Rangers, but he feels he can do more.

"I've helped a little bit. I haven't helped to the extent of my abilities," Rios said. "I believe I can bring more stuff to the table. But I'm still very positive and optimistic of getting better and getting better results to help the team win."

Rios went 2-for-5 and scored twice in the Rangers' 11-5 victory.

Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.