CLEVELAND — Adam Eaton feels sore everywhere and chances are slim he’d play again before he is re-evaluated on Monday when the team returns home.
But the White Sox outfielder said Saturday afternoon that he felt better than he did Friday when he was cleared for a concussion after crashing into the outfield wall making a fantastic catch.
Eaton, who left in the sixth inning of Friday’s game, said he stayed down on the ground for several minutes after he knocked the wind out of himself. Manager Robin Ventura mostly ruled Eaton out for Saturday and Sunday after his hip, shoulder and back were all involved.
“If anybody has ever been in a car accident, it’s kind of the same thing,” Eaton said. “It’s taking inventory of the body parts and making sure everything is back to where we’re supposed to be, and as soon as that is accounted for, we’ll get back out there and play again.
“It seemed like I passed (the concussion test) pretty well.”
Whereas early in his career the White Sox asked Eaton, who played as if his hair were on fire, to dial it back, Ventura appreciated the outfielder’s effort. Not only was there a possibility Eaton could get to the ball, he made a fantastic grab before slamming into the wall. Ventura applauded how much progress Eaton has made in knowing when and when not to go all out in the name of his own safety.
“He’s been a lot better,” Ventura said. “He would run after balls that were probably 10 rows deep. …
“Before he was just out there running crazy and right now he has a better understanding of what he can get to. Last night was just a great play, he runs into the wall and gets himself banged up.”
Staying on the field has made Eaton an extremely valuable asset for the White Sox. Not only is he a strong candidate to win a Rawlings Gold Glove, Eaton has a .791 OPS in 683 plate appearances. He headed into Saturday seventh among the American League position players with 6 Wins Above Replacement. And he has proven versatile with the ability to play right and center field and hit in several spots in the lineup.
“When you look what he does … he’s been pretty dang valuable,” Ventura said.
Eaton feels like part of the value he brings is his willingness to go all out for his teammates. He doesn’t intend to slow down any more than he already has. Eaton said Saturday he was a little ticked by some of the responses he received on social media after the play, feeling like he would have heard criticism if he had backed off.
“You play hard and then all of a sudden you get hurt playing hard and then people have a problem with it and then they say you should play hard,” Eaton said.
“Instead of choosing my body, I chose my team. People can curse me for it, but the day that I backpedal and let the ball hit off the wall is the day I’m going to quit baseball.”
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