GLENDALE, Ariz. — Though he won’t play outfield for a little while, Adam Eaton expects to be ready for Opening Day.
The White Sox center fielder said Sunday he and the team have decided on a deliberate recovery as he continues to strengthen his shoulder after he had nerve decompression surgery in October.
Eaton hasn’t been too limited at spring training so far; he’s hitting, running and shagging fly balls like normal. Eaton has even continued to throw. But the Ohio native just hasn’t done so at maximum effort.
“It’s going really well,” Eaton said. “I haven’t talked to the team much with expectations of spring training. But history with this injury and shoulders, we’re not going to jump into anything. We’re definitely going to take our time with it and make sure it’s right. But I can tell you sitting here, 100 percent, that I’ll be ready for Opening Day, no questions asked.”
Eaton played through shoulder pain for almost two and a half months to end last season. Though it affected his sleep pattern — he could only fall asleep sitting up with a pillow under his shoulder — and his throwing, Eaton thrived at the plate. Now in his third season with the White Sox, Eaton said at SoxFest last month that he’s progressing and didn’t anticipate any issues.
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White Sox manager Robin Ventura doesn’t seem too concerned, either, though he did allow that the club has exercised caution.
“We’re very careful about him,” Ventura said. “(Head athletic trainer Herm Schneider's) got him going through stages of how he’s going to get better. Even now, at the end of BP he kind of lobbed it back in to get it in there, but we’re just not going to rush him right now. Even in the intrasquad tomorrow he can do things and DH, but he’s not going to play in the outfield for a while.”
Eaton elected to not comment on how the rehab has gone versus his expectations. But, he also sounds confident he’ll be ready for the regular season, which starts April 4.
“Everything is fine,” Eaton said. “Even my arm is fine. Just making sure it’s strong enough until getting into the game every single day. I’m throwing more than a regular position player — I’m throwing 120 throws, minimum. Arm is feeling fine. Nothing to really worry about.”