Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton spoke on his timeline to return to game action ahead of his activation on Friday. Eaton also shared his thoughts on why players have suffered so many hamstring injuries in 2021.
The 32-year-old veteran appeared on NBC Sports Chicago's White Sox Talk Podcast with Chuck Garfien. The pair's discussion included his injuries, the club overall to this point, and why the league has seen so many names go down due to leg injuries.
Eaton explained that up until he landed on the disabled list, he was dealing with "stuff". The term references multiple injuries, bumps, and bruises that added up to a hindering amount of variables in his game. He told Garfien that at the time of the interview, he felt the best he's felt all season long.
The left-handed bat explained now that he's a bit older, battling through these injuries is a bit harder, and there's value in taking a few days off to get healthy again here and there. It is no secret that Eaton's numbers haven't been great, but he spoke about getting back to work and putting together a good second half of the 2021 season.
When Garfien asked Eaton about the league-wide injury issue, he leaned on an analogy in an attempt to paint a picture of the problem.
Ferraris and F-150s were the subjects of the explanation. Eaton said that players nowadays are like Ferraris. They run at extreme speeds, not just because they're faster, but because catcher's throw faster to second and third and because the ball is being hit much harder. Player's reaction times need to be quicker, and weight training and offseason regimens are much different.
While he respects the players before, Eaton said that Spring Training used to be the time to get ready for the season and get in shape. But now, pitchers begin their offseason programs in November and some position players begin lifting weights as soon as the day after they end the season. The workload that players take on in today's game, along with the evolution of player ability, has so much to do with the amount of hamstring and leg injuries fans have seen this season.
As far as a return for Eaton, despite not being able to give a specific date in the interview, he said that he was close to getting back to baseball. As fans learned on Friday, Eaton was activated off the injured list and is starting against the Tigers on Friday night.
Eaton gave the team high praise as they've managed to battle through multiple injuries. Guys like Jake Lamb, Danny Mendick, and Billy Hamilton have been huge for the team, and Eaton talked about their lack of ego to help the team when they need it most.
Even with Eaton's return, rookie Gavin Sheets will continue to assist in right field along with Brian Goodwin. Sheets will also likely see a lot of time as a designated hitter with Yermin Mercedes' demotion.
The White Sox begin their three-game series in Detroit, Michigan on Friday, followed by a pair of road series with the Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles before the All-Star Break.