OAKLAND — Adam Eaton is about to go through his own version of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” to return to the White Sox on Sunday.
The center fielder leaves the team on Wednesday afternoon to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte at Durham, N.C., on Thursday.
Eaton, who went on the 15-day disabled list on May 3 with a right hamstring strain, is expected to play with the Knights through Saturday. That means he’ll also take a three-hour bus trip to Norfolk, Va., to play four innings on Saturday before flying to Houston to join the White Sox on Sunday.
No matter what the travel is, the way Eaton feels has him excited to play.
“We ramped up probably four days ago, and it has felt great, better every day,” Eaton said. “(Wednesday), 100 percent. Ran full bore, kind of smelling-a-hit-type running, where you’ve got to get on and get going. Everything responded well. You’ve got to survive the trip over there, and I’m excited to strap it up and get after it. It’s going to be good to get in the box and play.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura has watched Eaton’s workouts and is pleased with the leadoff man’s progress.
“Watching him do stuff yesterday, in the outfield, he’s running around,” Ventura said. “His game is using his legs, and you don’t want to keep that from him, hamper him and go out there without having every possible thing he can use to be successful and for us.”
Eaton admits it’s assuring that both his legs — he missed five days last month because of left-leg issues — have responded well to treatment.
“It’s relieving, it really is,” Eaton said. “When your legs are your livelihood and they feel like crap every day, it’s not really fun. It’s a battle every day, and now we can put this behind us. It’s going to be fun. I’m excited to get back and play without any pain and continue to try and set the table and get things going.”
Abreu to get a day
Jose Abreu is unlikely to be in Friday’s lineup to rest his sore ankle, Ventura said.
Ventura expects his first baseman to put up a struggle but knows that 48 hours off — the White Sox are off Thursday — can be a big benefit.
“He’s going to fight it, but it’s probably a good time to do that for him,” Ventura said. “Anytime you can get a guy two days — he’s still limping around. You look at it and wince. But he is getting better as much as it might not look like it.”
— Scott Carroll will get another turn in the White Sox rotation, per Ventura. Carroll allowed one earned run over his first two starts but has yielded 12 over the past two. The right-hander thinks he has made some fixable mistakes in his past two starts.
“I made some bad pitches deep in the count which you can't do,” Carroll said. “I left some pitches over the middle, and what's frustrating is it's two outs and two strikes. Things we can work on and correct, but it's leaving me a little salty because I know I'm better than that.”
— Erik Johnson will continue to start at Triple-A Charlotte, Ventura said. The right-hander has a 2.84 ERA over three starts in the minors, including 17 strikeouts and two walks in 19 innings. Johnson’s fastball velocity sat between 90-93 mph in his last start on Monday. His fastball, which averaged 92 mph last season per Fangraphs.com, averaged 89.6 mph in five starts for the White Sox in 2014.