White Sox

Levine: Eaton Key To White Sox Offense

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Adam Eaton. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

Adam Eaton. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

Bruce Levine Bruce Levine
Bruce Levine covers both the Cubs and the White Sox for CBSChicago.co...
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By Bruce Levine-

GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — It would be unfair to put the onus on leadoff man Adam Eaton as the key to the 2014 offense. That said, there are a lot of high hopes that exist for the White Sox offense that center around Eaton getting on base and disrupting the opponents’ game plan.

The gritty Eaton had become a favorite of former Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson.

“I really like Adam and the way he approaches the game,” said Eaton’s former manager. “He does remind me of the way I played. Some people thought I was too aggressive and got hurt because of that. Adam plays hard and has good ability.”

Eaton had a hit and walk in his first two Cactus league at bats on Friday. He missed four months with a left shoulder strain and rehab program in 2013.

“I don’t think a I play the game too hard,” Eaton said. “If you look at the history of the game, guys that play hard and play as we say the right way, have success. I think you want those guys on your team. In Gibby’s ( Kirk Gibson) prime, there was not a guy that didn’t want him on their team. Maybe they hated him when he played against them. With him on your team you had a guy who was going to grind and irritate people, I think the teams he was on love that and I hope to bring the same enthusiastic approach here.”

The White Sox traded Hector Santiago and Brandon Jacobs to Arizona for the 25-year-old Eaton last December. Although Alejandro De Aza did a decent job leading off for the Sox the last two seasons, a .323 on base percentage in 2013 was not good enough to retain his leadoff spot.

“I feel I can get the job done,” said Eaton. “I hate to use the excuse that I was hurt last year, still it was disruptive. I have a fresh start here and i am excited to get going.”

The new White Sox center fielder has the defensive ability to get some things done that has been missing in recent years. Eaton stole 90 bases in his minor league career.

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