PHOENIX — Although Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Eaton received good news on his visit to the doctor on Wednesday, he likely will still miss at least another month as he recovers from a strained left elbow.
Eaton was shut down earlier in the week after feeling soreness in the elbow while on a rehabilitation assignment at Class A Visalia, but team physician Dr. Michael Lee found no structural damage to the ulnar collateral ligament after an MRI exam.
Eaton is expected to go through two to three weeks of strengthening exercises before beginning a throwing program, the team announced Thursday. If Eaton maintains that schedule, however, it seems unlikely that he could join the team until the end of June, perhaps even into July.
We will be back stronger than ever. Minor “speed” bump. Thank you for all of the positive thoughts! #GoDbacks
Expected to be the starting center fielder and leadoff man this season, Eaton suffered the injury midway through spring training and aggravated it on a throw in an exhibition game on March 18, leaving after four innings.
After rest and strengthening exercises, Eaton began a rehab assignment as the designated hitter at Class AAA Reno on May 3. After nine games there, he moved to Visalia, when he began playing the outfield last Friday. He played three days before feeling discomfort.
Not only have the D-backs (26-21) played without Eaton all season, they also have been without handyman Willie Bloomquist (intercostal strain) for the year and second baseman Aaron Hill (fractured left hand) for all but 10 games after he was struck by a pitch April 9.
Hill’s hand is healing slower than hoped because the break is near a nerve, and it appears likely he will not rejoin the team for at least several weeks. Bloomquist has been playing in extended spring training games at Salt River Fields but has not begun his rehab assignment.