White Sox bench Alex Rios, call up Alejandro De Aza

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Lost in the Edwin Jackson trade this morning is that Chicago’s shakeup didn’t end there, as the White Sox have benched center fielder Alex Rios and called up Alejandro De Aza from Triple-A.

It’s unclear how long the benching will last, but the fact that Rios is owed $38 million for the next three seasons as part of the long-term contract the White Sox claimed off waivers in mid-2009 makes it unlikely to last that long. And trading Rios would almost surely involve eating a significant portion of that remaining money.

Rios’ time on the bench may be determined by how well De Aza plays after forcing his way into the White Sox’s plans by hitting .322 in 99 games at Triple-A.  He also hit .309 there last season, but De Aza isn’t a prospect at 27 years old and brings minimal power and poor plate discipline along with the nice batting averages and plus speed.

He’s far more likely to be a solid role player than an impact guy and platooning the left-handed-hitting De Aza with the right-handed-hitting Rios might be a decent solution in the short term at least. Rios recovered from a disastrous 2009 to hit .284 with 21 homers, 34 steals, and a .791 OPS last season, but has fallen apart this year with a .208 batting average and .555 OPS in 97 games to rank among MLB’s least valuable regulars.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to big league spring training camp

Eastern AA All Star Baseball
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
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The Mets announced that a handful of minor leaguers have been invited to big league spring training camp. Among them is former football star and current outfielder Tim Tebow.

Tebow, 31, spent last season with Double-A Binghamton. His season ended in July due to a broken hamate bone. Overall, he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs and 36 RBI in 298 plate appearances. While the numbers aren’t anything earth-shattering, they are certainly better than what many skeptics thought he could put up in the minors, especially at Double-A.

Tebow will likely begin the season with Triple-A Syracuse. If he performs well, he could get a call up to the big leagues in the event of an injury, or in September when rosters expand.