ST. PETERSBURG -- Adam Eaton didn't start Saturday's 5-4 White Sox loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field, meaning he was out of the lineup for the second time in three games and sitting the day after he had two hits and scored two runs in Friday's setback.
That original absence produced a spirited closed door early afternoon meeting with White Sox bench coach Mark Parent, who is filling in for manager Robin Ventura this weekend. First-base coach and outfield instructor Daryl Boston also was part of the talk.
But Eaton's most pointed commentary came late in the game without saying a word, when he came off the bench to draw a leadoff walk against Chris Archer in the eighth, score the game-tying run on Conor Gillaspie's pinch-hit homer and then single to extend an ill-fated ninth inning rally against Jake McGee. After the White Sox second straight loss, the feisty leadoff man had little to say about the situation.
"He can speak on that. I'm not going to," Eaton said. "I sat for a few innings and then got out there and had two good at-bats. We gave them a little run at the end but it was a tough loss for us today."
Eaton agreed to a five-year, $23.5 million contract extension during Spring Training, and that fire he showed in his talk with Parent and Boston represents the same sort of intensity that helped earn him this new deal. But he has struggled this season, hitting just .240 with a .294 on-base percentage and 40 strikeouts.
Those numbers picked up in May, when he hit .262 with a .325 on-base percentage. So Saturday's start of J.B. Shuck might have been a way keep a key component from losing a good feeling at the plate against a lights-out starter such as Archer.
Whatever the reasoning, Eaton wasn't offering up much aside from game analysis.
"Like I said, I can't really speak too much on it," Eaton said. "I just work here. I'm going to go back with that saying. It just popped in my mind. I'm going to stick with it. You can talk to him about it. But I don't want to really speak on it."
Parent explained pregame that he had no issue with Eaton wanting to play and expressing his desire to play. It was the same thing Parent did as a player. The overall outcome of these ongoing Saturday discussions between the two was a positive one as pointed out by the acting manager concerning his center fielder.
"Our discussion continued and we had a great discussion," said Parent postgame. "We had a really good talk about what he's trying to do, what we're trying to do as a team. He's on board.
"I let him know we think the world of him. He's not playing for whatever reason. He's on board and he's going to be here for the next three, four five years and do well. And he came in and had a great at-bat, played good defense."