Notes: A lesson learned for Rios

Notes: A lesson learned for Rios

TORONTO -- The rules are simple and unalterable. If you don't run, you don't play. Toronto outfielder Alex Rios found that out Friday night, when the Blue Jays pulled him in the second inning for failing to hustle on a routine fly ball.

Rios was told in no uncertain terms why he was being removed from the game, but Toronto manager John Gibbons told the media that the outfielder had a "bad leg." When pressed on the topic, he kept repeating the same thing. One day later, the answers came from higher up the organizational chain.

"That's all right. I'll admit it," said J.P. Ricciardi, the team's general manager. "He's protecting his player. I talked to Alex today. He knows he didn't do the right thing. It doesn't take any talent to hustle."

At this point, Rios can't afford to ignore the little things. The right fielder is currently riding an 0-for-16 skid and has just six hits in his last 57 at-bats, which makes the lack of hustle stick out even more. Ricciardi said it's not necessarily part of a larger pattern, but he emphasized the larger lesson that has to hit home.

"He's a young kid, scuffling. They all have. Some of them handle it good. Some don't," he said. "Even though they're frustrated, they still have to run hard. Like I told him, 'At the end of the day, you're the one more embarrassed than anybody [else]. You're not that kind of kid, and you're not that kind of player.' "

Rios, for his part, said all the right things. The second-year starter said he accepted the repercussions for his actions, and he also said that his struggles had little or nothing to do with the brief mind cramp.

"I don't want to put that as an excuse. I didn't run, and I've got to accept what I did," he said. "I know I should've run that ball out. It's not going to happen anymore."

What kind of impact will this have down the stretch? That's hard to say since Gibbons refuses to address it, but Ricciardi seemed to think it was already a forgotten issue.

"Gibby did the right thing," he said. "He gave him the benefit of the doubt, and when he had to [pull him], he did it. I don't think Gibby has a doghouse. He held him accountable, and that's it."

One step back: The second half has been nearly universally positive for Dave Bush, but he endured a setback in his last start. The Yankees pounded him for six earned runs in less than three innings on Friday night, and there was little or nothing he could take from the experience.

"Obviously, every run counted," said Bush of the 11-10 loss. "Any number of those runs that doesn't score, it's a different game for us. I'm frustrated because I never really got going -- never really found a groove, never consistently threw a lot of strikes."

New York had won four straight games and scored 33 runs before facing Bush, but he said it was more than a case of simply running into a hot lineup.

"I don't think it makes a whole lot of difference with some of the pitches I threw [Friday night]. It doesn't matter if you're hot or not," he said. "Too many pitches up in the middle of the plate. They did a good job of hitting them. I didn't get away with a whole lot of mistakes, and they hit balls hard. Even some of the outs were hit hard."

Drained: Scott Schoeneweis, the busiest man in Toronto's bullpen, is starting to take things to an extreme. The southpaw specialist has worked in five straight games, and he's tied with Boston's Mike Timlin for the most appearances (74) of any American League reliever.

Schoeneweis will likely get a day off on Saturday, but he's just five outings from tying Trever Miller's single-season franchise mark for the most appearances by a left-handed pitcher.

Quotable: "You don't take it out on not running because you're letting the team down and you're letting yourself down. Every player, at some point in their career, has it happen to him." -- Ricciardi, boiling down the basic lesson that he wants Rios to learn

Coming up: The Blue Jays and Yankees will meet Sunday for a series finale that pits Toronto's Ted Lilly (8-10, 5.61 ERA) against New York's Jaret Wright (5-2, 5.37 ERA).

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.