GLENDALE, Ariz. — Adam Eaton isn’t participating in outfield drills yet and his first Cactus League game action will probably be as a designated hitter.
“But there is no, there is zero, I’ll tell you there is zero chance I will not be ready for Opening Day,” the White Sox center fielder said Sunday. “One hundred percent zero chance. I say that with confidence.”
Eaton is building strength after having arthroscopic surgery to decompress a nerve in the back of his left (throwing) shoulder in the offseason. The shoulder had bothered him since he jammed it diving for a ball in July.
“I’m sure the team will be cautious with me starting off,” Eaton said. “There’s no reason to push it in spring training. I told them for a number of reasons, keep me healthy, keep my arm healthy, keep my legs healthy. I’m going to DH I would imagine — I haven’t talked to the team about this yet but I believe we’ll be cautious with it to get back to 100 percent.”
Eaton is on a program throwing every day but he’s nowhere near game ready now.
“Even now, at the end of BP he kind of lobbed it back in to get it in there but we’re just not going to rush him right now,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s not going to play in the outfield for a while.’’
That said, Ventura isn’t worried because trainer Herm Schneider assured him there’s nothing to worry about. The regular season opener is five weeks and a day away, on April 4 in Oakland.