Adam Eaton went 3 for 17 with a home run, three walks, and four Ks in five rehab games between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.
Eaton, 29, underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a flap of cartilage on his left ankle on May 10th, a month after he went on the DL with an ankle injury, and a little over a year after he tore the ACL and meniscus in his left knee and suffered a high ankle sprain stumbling at first base running out a grounder a month into his first season with the Nats.
During his weekly visit with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo said Eaton was getting close to returning, but added that there was no need to force anything right now.
“We’re in a very good place that we don’t have to rush these guys,” Rizzo explained.
“We want them back here, we want them back as themselves, we don’t want them back at 85% if we can help it because we don’t have to rush anybody back.”
In a report by FRSBaseball’s Jon Heyman on Thursday, he wrote that Eaton still had a way to go before he was ready to return to major league action, but early this afternoon, the P-Nats noted that the outfielder had been removed from their roster, and when reporters arrived in the Nationals’ clubhouse, Eaton was there... though he was not listed on the active roster.
So... what’s going on?
“He is very, very, very, very, very close,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters before tonight’s game.
“He’s going to see — we’re going to talk to him today, he’s going to work out with us today, and then we’ll see where we’re at.
“I actually want to see him live going through everything and then see where we go from there.”
Noting that Eaton played in center field on his rehab assignment, a reporter asked Martinez what he heard about the outfielder’s performance after he started the season in left in D.C.
Juan Soto has been playing there since he was called up, and Soto hit another home run in the series opener with the San Francisco Giants tonight, while Michael A. Taylor, who had a rough start to the season, has heated up at the plate in the last few weeks.
So how was Eaton in center? And how will he fit in?
“They said he was fine,” Martinez said. “That definitely was a conversation. We’ll see. For me, it’s a really good problem to have. We’ve got a lot of good outfielders, so we’ll sit down and draw up how we want to do this and make sure they all play.”
What they do know, the first-year manager added, is that they want to take things slowly with Eaton.
“We definitely need to take care of him,” Martinez said. “Last time we thought he was okay. Obviously he wasn’t. So, we want to make sure that this time we have him for the rest of the season, so I talked to him today, he’s excited, I’m excited, he looks great, so we’ll see what happens going forward.”
How did he look in the pregame workouts? And will he be back today?
“I’ll let you know tomorrow,” Martinez told reporters on Friday night.
“He looked good though, he did. Gotta have a conversation with him tonight or tomorrow, hopefully he’s in there, so we’ll see.”