Durable Rios still delayed by injury

Durable Rios still delayed by injury

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Alex Rios was out of the lineup for the fifth straight game on Sunday while dealing with a strained intercoastal muscle in his right rib cage. Rios also had a sore left toe earlier in Spring Training and has played in just four of 11 Cactus League games.

"Sometimes you just can't force it in Spring Training," Rios said. "It's better to take your time and do things as a precaution and try not to get hurt worse. It's just something that happens. I'm not worried about it."

Sitting out Cactus League games for minor ailments is one thing. The regular season is different and Rios doesn't miss many. He has been on the disabled list just once in his 10-year Major League career. That was in 2006 and it was an unusual situation. Rios fouled a pitch off his left ankle and it caused some swelling. He was only supposed to be out a couple of days at the most but somehow the injury became staph infected and Rios missed a month.

But since the start of the 2007 season, Rios has played in 1,070 of a possible 1,134 games. He is seventh in games played among all Major League players in that stretch and second behind Ichiro Suzuki among outfielders.

"I prepare myself to play to go out and play 162 games," Rios said. "Sometimes things happen that you can't control but what I can control is my preparation. I am proud of that."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.