ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Surprised he wasn’t in Saturday’s White Sox lineup, Adam Eaton had closed-door meeting with coaches Mark Parent and Daryl Boston.
Best described as a spirited, 10-minute discussion, Eaton, who went 2-for-5 with two runs scored in Friday’s loss, expressed his frustration at sitting out for the second time in three games.
With Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer currently pitching at an All-World level, Parent said he liked how J.B. Shuck matches up better. Parent, who is filling in for manager Robin Ventura this weekend, suggested Eaton would return to the lineup on Sunday and also said the discussion -- one he didn’t seem to mind -- surrounded the center fielder’s defensive positioning.
“Yeah, he was surprised,” Parent said. “He feels like he should be playing every day, great. So does everybody else or they wouldn’t be here. He’s a big guy that we count on. We need him. He had a good game at the plate (Friday).
[SHOP: Buy an Adam Eaton jersey]
“I don’t care -- I told coaches I wasn’t happy. But you want to know the guy wants to be in there.”
Parent had a similar discussion with Jose Abreu about being the designated hitter on Saturday in order to get Adam LaRoche in the field and perhaps back on track at the plate. One aspect Eaton might not have been alarmed by was another discussion with Boston about positioning. The White Sox believe Eaton’s strength is going back on the ball. They have previously advised him to play a shallower center field. In Friday’s loss, Eaton, who also had a spectacular tumbling grab, appeared to misread an RBI base hit to shallow center.
“These are our guys,” Parent said. “You’ve got to keep encouraging, keep trying to play better and talk to them about it. D-Bo having a discussion with Eaton today … We’ve had that discussion numerous times. Well, let’s have another one, so we have another one.”
Archer’s start played perhaps just as big a role. The Rays right-hander has struck out 38 batters and walked none in his past three starts. Though Eaton still hasn’t hit a stride similar to 2014, he has improved over the past five weeks, raising his on-base percentage from .241 to .290. Eaton has a .316 OBP since May 5, a number the White Sox would like to see improve even more -- just like the rest of the team’s offense.
“We don’t want him to have a setback against a guy that’s on fire,” Parent said. “I’m sure my discussions with Adam aren’t over for the day. But that’s great, you want a guy that wants to play.”