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07/10/06 8:42 PM ET

Sidelined Rios makes it to Pittsburgh

Won't be able to play in All-Star Game; return to Jays uncertain

PITTSBURGH -- As Alex Rios positioned his weight on his right foot while standing outside the visitor's clubhouse at PNC Park on Monday night, Toronto teammate Roy Halladay smiled wide and patted his fellow All-Star on the back.

Halladay, like all of the other Blue Jays All-Stars, was thrilled to see Rios join them in Pittsburgh. The 25-year-old outfielder was released from a Toronto-area hospital on Friday and there weren't any certainties that he'd be able to enjoy his first All-Star Game experience.

"I'm glad to be here to support my teammates and have a great time," said Rios, just before fellow Blue Jay Troy Glaus competed in the Home Run Derby.

While speaking to the media for the first time since being admitted to the hospital with a staph infection in his left leg on June 29, Rios said he expects to be at full strength when he returns. But as he continues to walk with a noticeable limp, it appears it may be at least two weeks before he could resume playing. He will not play in the All-Star Game.

Doctors have told Rios he must first be able to walk without a limp before they can provide a timetable for his return. During his eight-day stay in the hospital, he says he lost only five pounds.

Rios, whose 15 homers are four more than he hit in his first two Major League seasons combined, was granted his first All-Star selection via the players' vote. His .968 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) ranks fourth among all American League outfielders.

It's believed Rios' infection developed after he fouled a pitch off of his left leg, just above the ankle. The belief is that the skin was broken, allowing bacteria to enter.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.