Adam Eaton insisted that he felt fine three days after crashing into the outfield wall in Cleveland.
“Feeling good,” said Eaton, who was held out of the starting lineup Monday for the third consecutive game. “I can’t speak for Robin (Ventura), but I think the reason I’m not playing today is because of (Drew) Smyly, a good lefty.”
Color the Sox’s skipper as skeptical.
“Yeah, he doesn’t feel that good,” Ventura said. “He’s always going to tell you he feels good. Even if he’s getting better, tomorrow is going to be a better day for him.”
Eaton passed concussion protocol after the play, which forced him to leave Friday’s game in the sixth inning. He said his hip hurt worse than the whiplash he sustained because his hip was the first point of contact with the wall.
Taking swings did not pose a problem, Eaton said.
“It’s more my legs and running,” Eaton said. “I think swinging, at least for me, the rotation has been all right.”
In Eaton’s place, Leury Garcia started in center field and batted ninth against the Rays.
“Hopefully, I don’t get ‘Wally Pipped’ and get replaced,” Eaton said. “I hope I can squeeze back in there.”
Chris Sale is scheduled to start Tuesday in what could be his final outing of the season.
For now, the 27-year-old also is on track to start the season finale Sunday against the Twins. But Ventura said the rotation for the final weekend was not set in stone.
“He does have that option right now,” Ventura said of Sale in the season finale. “We’ll get in and see how we go through it with this series and see where we are with those guys, see where they are physically, how they’re doing.
“I don’t plan on anything necessarily changing. It could change in a couple days, and we’ll see how that goes and make adjustments as we go along. We’ve got enough guys here to make it through. That’s not the issue.”
Sale will try to match a career high with his 17th victory on Tuesday. He is 16-9 with a 3.19 ERA. He already has logged a career-high 214 2/3 innings.
Bring the heat
Ventura caught up on video highlights Monday of the Wrigley Field sendoff for David Ross, his friend and former teammate with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 2004, Dodgers manager Jim Tracy brought in Ventura to pitch the ninth inning with his team trailing 13-0. Ross was behind the plate as Ventura climbed the mound.
“He never put down a signal,” Ventura said. “I didn’t throw hard enough for him to put down a signal.”
The slow stuff worked as Ventura pitched a scoreless inning. His only blemish was allowing a single to Darin Erstad.
Ventura said Ross deserved all of his recent recognition as his career winds down.
“When a guy is at the end and he knows he’s at the end, you can have a little more fun,” Ventura said.