LOS ANGELES -- Adam Eaton has struggled lately and that has him excited.
Of course the White Sox leadoff man and center fielder wants better results than he has put up since his return from the 15-day disabled list. But Eaton has always been one to embrace a challenge and that’s how he views what he has endured since May 18. Over that period Eaton has a .209/.221/.224 slash line with 16 strikeouts in 68 plate appearances.
“You’re going to have runs like this and it kind of shows you what player you are so I’ve got to buck up, produce and get it done,” Eaton said before Wednesday’s series finale at Dodger Stadium.
One of the telltale signs of Eaton’s strugges is that he has seen fewer pitchers per plate appearance.
Whereas he averaged seeing 4.02 pitchers per trip to the plate before he went on the DL on May 3, Eaton has seen 3.75 pitches since his return. Eaton drew a four-pitch walk in Tuesday’s win and scored a run but that is his only base on balls since returning to the lineup.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Eaton has altered his approach some in search of success.
“It’s gotten to the point where he swings early in counts,” Ventura said. “Before he was working counts. It always looks better when you’re working counts and getting hits. When you’re working counts and not getting hits, guys tend to swing a little bit earlier and not seem to get himself behind in counts. When he gets a couple of hits, it will look better because it’s tough to be able to hit from behind in counts. You have to take advantage when you’re ahead in counts.”
Eaton doesn’t think he’s far away but admits the first two games of the Dodgers series are the least competitive he has felt during this run. But that just makes the challenge that much greater for him.
“We’re getting there slowly but surely,” Eaton said. “Things haven’t really been going my way. Hitting the ball hard and then I haven’t been hitting the ball hard. I’ll be lining out and then I end up breaking lots of bats. It’s something we’ll continue to work on and it’s that part of the season where you have just got to battle at-bats out and string a couple of hits together to hopefully turn it around. Hopefully we’ll get going.
“It’s been kind of a struggle. I’m excited.”