KANSAS CITY -- When Red Sox reliever Matt Thornton learned Friday that former White Sox teammate Alex Rios was heading to the Rangers, Thornton's initial reaction was that Texas had improved its chances in the American League playoff chase.
"Alex is an underrated player," said Thornton, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. "He brings a lot to the baseball field. He gets a bad rap sometimes, and I don't know why. I love Alex and I think he's a great ballplayer. He gets bashed for his defense, but I've seen him make some great plays. He's a tough at-bat for a pitcher and there's no doubt he's going to help them out."
While Thornton and Jake Peavy have been re-energized since joining the Red Sox from the floundering White Sox, Thornton anticipates that Rios will get a similar boost in joining Texas.
"You want to win," said Thornton. "Now he's going to a team that has a chance."
If the first-place Red Sox win the American League East, the Rios factor can't impact them in terms of a playoff spot. It could only affect Boston if the Red Sox and Rangers are battling each other in a Wild Card scenario.
"It's just about winning as many games as we can," Thornton said.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.