CHICAGO -- Despite a late base-running mistake that Adam Eaton took particularly hard after Saturday’s two-run loss to the Twins, Robin Ventura reiterated Sunday morning that he appreciates his centerfielder’s aggressiveness on the basepaths.
“He rolls the dice a little bit by running hard and I think by him running hard, he puts himself in situations where he has to make that split decision whether to go or not go just because he's faster than everybody else,” Ventura said. “He gets to certain spots in the field when the ball's coming in that most people -- it wouldn't have been a problem for me, I know I would've been at first base. I think that's part of his aggressive style, and a lot of it's worked out. Every once in a while you're going to get burned by that. Do you wish that it never happened? Yeah. But in the end he's going to make more positive things happen by doing that.”
Eaton has been everything the White Sox had hoped he’d be when they acquired him a three-team deal last December with the Arizona Diamondbacks. On the season he’s putting up a strong slash line of .306/.371/.40 with 19 doubles and seven triples.
Eaton’s strong performance has helped rejuvenate an offense that had stagnated after a hot start, but has now scored five or more runs in seven of their last nine games. Add in the fact that he plays a strong center field and Eaton is certainly a welcome addition to the White Sox roster.
“When he's going well, we're scoring a lot of runs, that much is simple,” Ventura said of his spark-plug leadoff man. “I think even watching him in center field, I was not aware as good a center fielder as he is. We didn't get that report, at least I didn't. He covers a lot of ground, has a great arm, that's the stuff that you don't really know until you get somebody here. You see balls hit here the last couple years and you wonder where he's going to be at, but he gets great jumps on balls and it's been a really good find for us.”
After missing 14 games in May with a hamstring injury, Eaton came back and had some struggles late in May and into June. However, in his last 47 games, Eaton’s bat has heated up with a very impressive .911 OPS. All this despite a having a broken middle finger in his right hand that he sustained prior to the All-Star break.
“He's just been putting it on the ball. I think the injury might've helped in some way of just shortening up his swing,” Ventura said. “Sometimes when that happens, guys don't like to swing and miss so they're very conscious about making sure they make good contact. In Detroit he had a swing-and-miss that cost him about 15-20 seconds just to kind of collect himself. When guys have something like that, there just becomes a focus they're not really aware of. They're just trying to put it in play.”