GLENDALE, Ariz. — Although he prefers playing center field, Adam Eaton has no qualms about moving to a corner outfield spot when Austin Jackson, signed to a free-agent contract with the White Sox Sunday, plays center.
“We’re happy to have Austin,” Eaton said before going out to the backfields for the Sox’ workout Monday morning. “He’s a good player, a good teammate.”
Jackson received a warm welcome in the Sox clubhouse and took part in drills.
“Hopefully I can bring some clubhouse experience,” Jackson said. “But I’m looking to win. Hopefully I can bring that energy to the team.
“You miss the clubhouse. Getting to see your teammates every day and bonding with them. I don’t know everyone’s name yet but I’m working on it. I can already tell it’s a fun clubhouse. I walk in there and guys are already giving me crap about stuff I did a few years ago. I like it, I’m looking forward to being part of it.”
Eaton said he is willing to do whatever helps the team.
“I’ll do anything, it doesn’t matter where you play me, left, center or right, DH doesn’t matter,” he said. “I just want to win. It makes the team better, that’s all I care about.”
Eaton hasn’t played center yet this spring as his left (throwing) shoulder builds strength. He said he will be ready to play the outfield by Opening Day.
Jackson, who will wear No. 10, was given a locker next to former Tigers teammate Alex Avila. Jackson was introduced at a team meeting and took part in morning drills. He probably won’t participate in a game for a week to 10 days, general manager Rick Hahn said.
“There’s still a lot of bonding that has to go on in the field, at practice in the clubhouse,” Eaton said. “He’ll fit in nice. Get three weeks to hash out what our roles will be. All the outfielders will sit down with [manager] Robin [Ventura] and Rick, see what their plan is and go from there.”
Ventura said Jackson will be a good fit against left-handed pitching, although his career splits are fairly comparable.
“He can defend very well in the outfield, and in center field, so there’s an opportunity to have him go out there and Eaton can move around a little bit,” Ventura said. “We do have some flexibility to get guys playing multiple positions and move it around and give us some better options against lefties. We’ve struggled a little in the past against lefties, so this is one way to do that. Anytime you can add somebody who can play like Austin you definitely look at it and Rick was able to pull it off.”
The Sox play the Angels in Tempe at 2:10 p.m. Central time. Here is Ventura’s lineup:
In other Sox news, Major League Baseball announced the hiring of Del Matthews as Senior Director of Baseball Development. Matthews has been the Sox’ assistant director of player development. Matthews will play a key role in MLB’s Youth Programs initiatives.
“It’s an extraordinary opportunity,” Matthews said.