With the ALCS having shifted back to the Rogers Centre this week for Games 3, 4 and 5 between the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays, K.C. outfielder Alex Rios was given the opportunity to return to a facility he once called home.
However, as ESPN's Doug Padilla wrote, Blue Jays fans did direct some 'venom' in Rios' direction this week. For context's sake, here's what happened: After coming up through the Blue Jays' organization and making his MLB debut in 2004, Rios hit well enough to earn a big seven-year extension in 2008. Just one year into the deal, the Jays let him leave for the Chicago White Sox on a waiver claim as the club apparently didn't want to keep paying him at that level for the type of production he was providing.
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It's within that context that Rios made his return to Toronto this week and did quite well: After going 0-4 in Game 3, he rebounded with a three-hit night in Game 4 (clubbing a home run, too) in the Royals' 14-2 win.
Despite the reception given to him by Toronto fans, Rios told Padilla he wasn't really bothered by it:
Padilla noted that Rios saw the fans' salty reception as more of a challenge than a problem, which is probably a good way to look at it from his perspective:
With (at least) one more game remaining in this series, Rios could very well step up on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium and make his presence felt once again.