Adam Eaton has dedicated himself to playing the game a certain way to overcome his lack of size and natural athletic ability.
The White Sox' new center fielder isn't afraid take a pitch in the ribs if it means getting on base, and he's not afraid to run into the wall, either.
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But there is one part of Eaton's "dirt-bag" game that is worrisome.
Twice this season, the Sox' leadoff hitter has slid headfirst into first base. Considering the Angels' Josh Hamilton went headfirst into first Tuesday night and is now out 6-8 weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb, Eaton might want to stay on his feet.
"On Twitter, people have been ripping me," Eaton said. "They've been saying, 'Quit doing it. You need a stern talking to.' I just want to ask everyone, 'What do you do for a living?' But I respect their opinions."
Eaton said it's only a matter of time before he again slides headfirst into first base.
"There will be a time and a place where I'll do it again, but it's definitely going to be a calculated risk," Eaton said. "When I dive in there, it's going to be because of a high throw or it's going to be something that's extremely close, maybe avoid a tag or avoid a collision or something. It's going to happen again, but it's definitely going to be more calculated. I don't want to give (general manager) Rick (Hahn) a heart attack."
Manager Robin Ventura is not a fan of the dangerous baserunning strategy.
"You don't necessarily like a guy doing that," Ventura said. "Sometimes you do it just out of reaction, trying to avoid getting tagged. But we know it doesn't make you get there faster. I really would like guys not to do it at all. I don't necessarily see a reason for it other than to avoid when the pitcher's covering and they can just tag you. Twice is enough for me."
The next Big Hurt?
Jose Abreu entered Friday night's game against Cleveland tied for first in the American League with 4 home runs and 11 RBI.
Manager Robin Ventura was asked if he's ever seen a hitter emerge so quickly.
"Yeah, they had Frank Thomas here," Ventura said. "He was pretty good. He made the Hall of Fame and everything."
Abreu has a long, long ways to go before a Thomas comparison becomes realistic, but the first baseman is enjoying his fast start.
"Up to now, it's been a great experience, it's been a beautiful experience," Abreu said through an interpreter. "I'm just thankful for all the support of the people and my teammates that make this start what it is. I want to keep on doing what I'm doing, but it's been a great start."
Abreu has met Thomas, and he's flattered at being even remotely compared to the best hitter in White Sox history.
"Of course," said Abreu, who flied out deep to center field twice Friday night. "We all know what he's done, we all know what he's accomplished. For any player to be compared to a legend, someone as great as him, it'd be an incredible compliment."