DETROIT -- It hasn’t been the easiest couple of months whether it’s his performance or the team’s or some of his missteps. But Adam Eaton feels like he has begun to rediscover his game and the White Sox believe they’ve seen more and more of the player they signed to a five-year, $23.5-million extension in March.
Since he returned to the lineup in May after missing three games with the flu, Eaton has a .276/.349/.434 slash line with 17 extra-base hits in 219 plate appearances. Eaton has been even better in June, reaching base at a .376 clip.
Manager Robin Ventura thinks Eaton’s improvement is partly due to the leadoff man reducing pressure on himself to make good on his extension.
“This is the guy that we basically saw last year,” Ventura said. “His at-bats are tougher. Early maybe he was trying to live up to a contract and that stuff never pans out. For him, this is how he plays. He’s a thorn in the side of the other team playing good defense, running around, that’s him, that’s basically what he got paid for and we’re seeing a lot more of that now and we need that.”
Through the team’s first 19 games, Eaton carried a .192/.241/.256 slash line. He worried about how his slump was affecting the rest of the offense. In late April, Eaton fell ill during the team’s trip to Baltimore and Minneapolis. He was so sick that he couldn’t hold food down during his three-game absence and was sent back to Chicago ahead of the team.
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While he has been slow to warm up, Eaton has slowly but surely returned to the style of play he produced in 2014. It hasn’t been all rosy -- Eaton made a pair of mental errors of which Ventura didn’t approve and he was flustered to not be in the starting lineup earlier this month in Tampa Bay. But Eaton has bounced back from each to show the same fiery play and edge that made him a fan favorite last season.
“I’ve developed and learned a lot in the last month, two months and hopefully we’ll start to get back to the way I need to play and the way I need to go about things,” Eaton said. “I think I’ve learned something new every day and hopefully can get back to where I need to be offensively and defensively.”