Alex Rios couldn't carry the White Sox to the playoffs a year ago. He's thrilled that he is back in position to go for the full ride after the trade that sent him to the Rangers earlier this month.

"I'm extremely excited'' said Rios who singled and scored runs in his first two at-bats Friday night. "I've never experienced the playoffs before. The only thing I can relate to like that was the WBC getting to the finals (with Puerto Rico). I guess the playoffs will be another feeling.''

Rios who was traded for infielder Leury Garcia has played 1420 games without reaching the playoffs. That's the third most among active players behind the Sox's Adam Dunn (1842) and the Yankees' Vernon Wells (1709).

He said his new teammates have welcomed him "with open arms.'' They were in line for a wild-card spot when he arrived and since have reclaimed the division lead from the A's.

Rios has fit in well with his all-around skills. He's a defensive upgrade over suspended right fielder Nelson Cruz and hit .273 in his first 11 games with the Rangers.

Cruz will be eligible for the postseason if the Rangers qualify. He is currently in the Dominican Republic and expected to participate in Instructional League games in late September. Manager Ron Washington and Rangers GM Jon Daniels have been non-committal about whether Cruz will be used in the playoffs.