Nationals’ left fielder Adam Eaton, who suffered a devastating, season-ending knee injury (a full thickness ACL tear, a meniscus tear, and a high ankle sprain) in late April 2017, in his first season in Washington, D.C., stumbled trying to score from first base on a double to left field by Anthony Rendon in the third inning of the home opener on Thursday afternoon.
Eaton tumbled as he approached home and hit hard, rumbling instead of sliding across the plate.
Two innings later, he left the game, but the 29-year-old outfielder and his manager assured reporters after the 8-2 loss to the New York Mets that he was okay, and not expected to be out of the lineup too long, if at all.
“He tweaked his ankle on the slide home, so precautionary,” Martinez said when asked after the game about taking Eaton out.
“He went and got seen, took X-rays, everything is negative. He said he feels fine.”
“A little tweak, nothing major,” Eaton said.
“I think a little bit of scar tissue decided to come up during that first-to-home, but they don’t think anything major,” he added.
“I think a day or so for it to realign itself and be good, so I think everyone worried about my knee, but at the same [time], I did tear everything in my ankle too, so we kind of forget about it, it’s on the back burner, but like I said we’ll give it some attention and get back out there.”
Eaton, acquired from the Chicago White Sox in a 3-for-1 trade in December of 2016, played in just 23 games for the Nationals before the injury in 2017, putting up a .297/.393/.462 line with seven doubles, a triple, and two home runs in 107 plate appearances.
Through six games this season, Eaton is 10 for 22 (.455/.520/.864) with three doubles and two home runs.
So what happened on the play on Thursday?
“He caught his spike or toe when he slid at home,” Martinez said.
“He said it felt weird, so we know it’s the left one [that] he hurt last year, so I just said, ‘Hey, let’s not chance it, just go get it looked at.”
“I’ve made that slide a million times, not a million, but quite a few times,” Eaton explained.
“I think I hit the toehold of the right-handed batters, and if you’ve ever seen a truck try to do a burnout, I felt like I had some — I don’t know what you want to call it, but I came up off the ground, and tried to then come back on the ground, it wasn’t a very easy-going slide, but I think my pride was hurt more than anything else. But anything for a run.”
Eaton said he didn’t think it was anything significant enough to require a DL stint.
“No, no. Nothing like that. I’ve come way too far to go first-to-home and then get blown out. So we’ll get back in there slowly but surely, but if it was the playoffs, they’d put some type of tape on me and run me back out there, but [it’s the seventh] game, so we’ve got a lot more ahead of us and for precautionary reasons they made sure that I was going to be 100%, so like I said we’ll take a day, maybe two depending on what the weather is going to be like Saturday. It seems like it’s not going to be very friendly, so we might have a blessing in disguise there, so we’ll definitely take those days.”
Martinez told reporters this morning that Eaton is available off the bench this afternoon and expected back in the lineup for tomorrow night’s series finale with the Mets, which is being broadcast on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.