Eaton mindful of aggressive spring approach

Eaton mindful of aggressive spring approach

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Adam Eaton knocked out four consecutive hits, from his first at-bat against the Royals in Surprise on Saturday through his first-inning single Sunday against the Padres at Camelback Ranch.

He accomplished that feat while seeing seven pitches overall. It's hard to argue with the success, but the leadoff man's approach becomes a little different at the plate in the context of Cactus League play.

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"Definitely a lot of variables involved with the AL and NL," said Eaton of his Spring Training thought process. "If we are going to face them during the season, what are they going to try to do? If there's a pitcher on the mound that's a young guy that's going to be competing for a job, you have to take that into consideration, and that changes my at-bat as well.

"Spring Training, there's a ton of variables that you take into account. You don't want to give too much up as a hitter, and they don't want to give up much as a pitcher."

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Eaton used his double and a Saturday home run against Royals starter Ian Kennedy as examples. He knew that Kennedy would be offering up "first-pitch heaters" because the Royals didn't want to show the White Sox anything, so Eaton took advantage.

"If I get a heater, let it ride," Eaton said. "It worked out well, but again, it's so different looking at Spring Training games than normal games."

All of Eaton's 2016 Cactus League starts have been at designated hitter, as he continues a throwing program on the way back from October nerve decompression surgery on his left shoulder. He tested that shoulder on Saturday by sliding head first on an unsuccessful steal of third base, and he reported no ill effects.

"To be honest, after I did it, I was kind of like 'What did I just do? Did I just slide head first?'" Eaton said. "It was fine. Everything felt really well. Throwing is going well as well, so, yeah, I didn't even realize it until after the fact. That's a good sign.

"I want to [slide head first] less, definitely cut back. In the heat of the moment, they had a big crowd, kind of the adrenaline took over and it didn't even cross my mind. When the season hits and things start slowing down, I'm going to try again to cut back on it and be more conscientious of it. But I'm glad I didn't feel anything and everything went well. I went pretty hard, so that's a good sign."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.