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Rios' Tear Helping Carry Rangers



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    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 02: Alex Rios #51 of the Texas Rangers is greeted manager Ron Washington as he returns to the dugout after giving the Rangers the lead with a two run home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 2, 2014 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

    Alex Rios has absolutely tortured Phil Hughes, the Tuesday night starter against the Rangers for the Minnesota Twins to the tune of a .458 with four extra-base hits in 24 career at-bats against Hughes, who's having a fine season in his first year with the Twins and is unquestionably their best starter.

    That means the chances are good that Rios will continue the tear he's been on recently, and also means there's a chance the Rangers could continue their recent offensive outburst against Hughes to move two games over .500 and possibly within four games of the AL West lead depending on what Oakland does against Detroit.

    Rios, who's been the Rangers' most consistent bat this year along with Shin-Soo Choo, is hitting .322 on the season and is hitting at the same clip in May with 17 RBIs on the month. But over the last six games, Rios has been particularly hot.

    Since the Rangers' 4-3 win over Seattle last week — their last home game before heading out on their current 11-game road trip — Rios is hitting .481 with a .500 on-base percentage and a 1.167 OPS to go with three doubles, a triple and five RBIs. In those six games, he has multiple hits in each one.

    Rios is perhaps the most underappreciated, undervalued Ranger since coming over in a post-deadline waiver deal from Chicago last August. He has a club option for 2015 for $13.5 million that would be a nice pick-up for the Rangers, but at this point it's more likely he's dealt at some point this season if the Rangers end up falling out of contention with their long list of injuries.

    But if Rios continues playing like he has this year, the Rangers might want to consider bringing him back next season when there hopefully aren't a dozen injuries in the first month of the season to see what he could do a fully stocked lineup.