Energetic Eaton humbled by criticism

February, 26, 2014
Feb 26
4:15
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- New Chicago White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton continues to defend himself from that anonymous Arizona Diamondbacks player who said in the offseason that Eaton was a selfish player.

[+] EnlargeAdam Eaton
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsAdam Eaton believes he is a good teammate despite what one former Arizona teammate said.
A separate report in the Arizona Republic said Eaton had a less-than-favorable reputation in the Diamondbacks clubhouse.

Eaton, who was brought over by the White Sox to be spark plug at the top of the order, does have energy off the charts whether it's on the field or off it. But where he won't put his energy is into firing back at people who wouldn't put a name behind their criticism.

"I felt I had a good rapport with the whole team," Eaton said. "I wish the person that said it would have said something. I would have approached them and said, 'What was the problem and how can I fix it?' I love my teammates. I would do anything for them on and off the field, anything I can do. I feel poorly that was spread, but it is what it is."

So far, his assimilation into White Sox culture has been smooth. In his first intrasquad game Tuesday, Eaton showed exactly the reason the White Sox coveted him, making a sliding catch in shallow center field and a bunt single that turned into a throwing error, an extra base and eventually a run scored.

Manager Robin Ventura likes what he as seen.

"For us, he's shown up and done everything asked," Ventura said. "He's playing hard and catching sliding balls in the outfield, being aggressive. If that's rubbing people the wrong way he can rub me the wrong way."

No matter how many times he is asked about his clubhouse perception in Arizona, Eaton is patient in explaining himself and what he thought was a good situation with his former team. He knows that his high energy might not always be received well.

"I think my personality, I'm just a kid in this game; you have to have fun with it," he said. "When things are going sour I'm still 110 percent. Sometimes I think I can rub people the wrong way just because I do play hard all the time and I try to give 110 percent. But I don't think you can please everybody in this game.

"I know I rub the other team the wrong way because I try to disrupt timing. But I feel bad. I don't want my name to be out there that I'm a bad teammate or I'm disruptive in the clubhouse. I just want to get along with everybody and win ballgames."

For some, the situation has recalled Nick Swisher's short stint with the White Sox and how the outgoing outfielder started to wear out his welcome. Eaton admits he doesn't know what kind of teammate Swisher is, but he does know that Swisher has delivered a productive career and in that sense he appreciated the comparison.

He said he had no issue with being a rookie last year and thought he was being respectful to the clubhouse pecking order. Moving forward, though, he feels strongly about not retreating into the shadows, but continuing to do what got him to the major leagues as a 5-foot-8, 185-pound outfielder who doesn't hit for power.

"I'll apologize; I don't want to rub him the wrong way," Eaton said. "I wish I would have gotten along with whoever it was. On the other side of things, I have to be this way. I have to be confident and I have to go about my business a certain way. I can't rely on my abilities alone.

"I'm not a 6-5 guy with a beautiful left-handed swing that can hit the ball 450 feet. I have to chop it on the ground and beat it out. It's just a different mentality. I wish the Diamondbacks nothing but the best, and the player who said it, and all the players there, I wish them well. I love the organization. It is what it is I guess."

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
12 1.99 192 163
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .321
HRJ. Abreu 35
RBIJ. Abreu 103
RA. Ramirez 78
OPSJ. Abreu .980
ERAC. Sale 1.99
SOC. Sale 192