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Adam Eaton good enough to give it a go

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox are making slight progress when it comes to their injury issues, as Adam Eaton returned to center field and the leadoff spot for the opener of Friday’s six-game homestand.

Eaton missed the past five games after suffering a mild left knee and hamstring strain during a game at Texas. He had been in a bit of a rough patch before the injury, going 3-for-23 (.130) over his past six games after collecting multiple hits in five consecutive contests.

Third baseman Conor Gillaspie remained out action, though, with a bruised left hand. Gillaspie, who has missed the past three games, could be headed toward the disabled list if he doesn’t show progress by Saturday, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.

Eaton, who prides himself on toughness, will have to take some precautions for the injury.

"Something will be on my knee just to help support it, but I'm sure I could play without it," Eaton said. "You gotta follow certain rules and protocol when you go in the trainer's office. We'll be good to go, though."

His hard-nosed style is an admitted concern for the White Sox but one they are willing to live with. Since the day he joined the White Sox, Eaton has said his maximum effort might one day limit his big league days, but he doesn’t know how to play any other way.

"No, I’ve had that since the day we first started scouting him, and we’ve talked about it with him," general manager Rick Hahn said. "The thing about him is part of the great benefit he brings to us is his energy, his intensity, the way he plays the game. We don’t want to take that away from him."

The White Sox aren’t just letting him run completely free, though. They have gotten him to stop diving into first base on everything but pickoff plays.

"Yes, there’s an element of potential risk of injury, I suppose, with that type of player, but we think the good far outweighs the bad," Hahn said.

The White Sox’s complete lineup Friday against Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Chris Archer:

Adam Eaton, CF

Marcus Semien, 3B

Jose Abreu, 1B

Adam Dunn, DH

Dayan Viciedo, RF

Alexei Ramirez, SS

Alejandro De Aza, LF

Tyler Flowers, C

Gordon Beckham, 2B

Right-hander Erik Johnson is pitching for the White Sox.