GLENDALE, Ariz. — Adam Eaton believes his elbow injury led to a reduced performance at the plate in 2013.
The White Sox outfielder made his first official appearance at camp on Tuesday, two days before the first full-squad work on Thursday.
Eaton, who came over in a December trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks, arrived at Camelback Ranch refreshed after several days off. He’s also ready to turn the page on a 2013 campaign in which he dealt with a reoccurring left elbow injury and finished with a .252/.314/.360 slash line in 277 plate appearances. Eaton has a .450 on-base percentage in 1,560 minor-league plate appearances.
“A good percentage was the injury,” Eaton, who said his elbow is healthy now, said of his struggles. “I didn’t hit. From my standpoint as a smaller guy, I always hit. I never stop hitting. For two stints, for four or five weeks each stint, I didn’t hit at all.”
Expected to take over as Arizona’s everyday center fielder, Eaton suffered a tear in his left ulnar collateral ligament late in spring training 2013. He opted to rehab the elbow and was on his way back to the majors when he suffered a reoccurrence of the injury in May.
The outfielder rejoined the Diamondbacks in July but had trouble rediscovering a stroke that had him on a fast track to the majors.
“It was tough to come in in July where guys are hitting midseason stride, for me to step right in as a rookie,” Eaton said. “I think a lot of people thought I was a 10-year vet and step right in, but it wasn’t as such. It was a little harder than I thought. You learn from it and you move on.”