Adam Eaton was really on a bit of a roll before he left Thursday's game in the first inning with umpteenth leg injury flare-up of the season. For the month of June, Eaton is hitting .322/.401/.478 with 12 walks and five triples in 102 plate appearances.
Thanks to the hot streak, his season-to-date could be broken down into three distinct periods.
Pre-DL stint: .276/.363/.378, 9.7 BB% in 113 PAs.
Post-DL stint in May: .232/.232/.250, 0.0 BB% in 56 PAs.
June: .322/.401/.478, 11.8 BB% in 102 PAs.
Of course, that injury came to Eaton's hamstring, which looked liked it could very easily have been the culprit in Eaton's leaving Thursday. There has been and initially was Thursday, a lot of concern that Eaton's odd choice to come to sudden stops after hitting the bag on sprints up the first base line would bring about injury, but the replay not only has Eaton actually going through the bag on this occasion, but it appears he's pulling up lame before he even arrives.
To hear Eaton tell it, he was close to pulling up lame before he suited up.
Originally it seemed like the issue with Eaton was that his 120% approach put him at risk for harm repeatedly. That could still be an issue, but Eaton's quote boils the issue down more clearly to a lack of communication about how he's feeling. Eaton didn't sprint into the bag, come to a complete halt and blow out his ankle, he wore down for weeks and kept playing every day until he couldn't make it through a sprint down the first base line.
Like any player worth giving a damn about, this situation needs to be fixed. For as great as the White Sox can be with managing the health of their players, this wouldn't be the first player they've so beloved for his bulldog tendencies that they allow him to sew the seeds of his own destruction.
130 healthy games with occasional breaks from Eaton are better than 90 games playing everyday with extended absences, but early on, there seems to be an extra bonus in preventing DL stints for Eaton, as he came back from two weeks off in May and couldn't see the ball for the rest of the month. Rustiness is one thing, but Eaton's approach--which typically is as strong as anyone's on the roster--transformed into ugly hacking.
It's just a theory that sitting out for weeks, then rushing back with minimal rehab time--naturally--resulted in Eaton's struggles, but it's one I'd rather not test. Eaton is aware of the communication disconnect, and they say knowing is half the battle, but it's a highly overrated half. Jake Peavy is capable of making self-aware statements at least once per day.
While the Sox work to build a bridge to Eaton being more communicative, why not take the onus out of his hands and give the guy a day off once per week. It's not like Leury Garcia is busy*.
*If this results in more Viciedo-De Aza-Sierra defensive alignments I will drown in the tears of my own regret.
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