D-backs CF Eaton possibly out 2 months

Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Eaton will be out for up to

two months because of a sprained left elbow.

Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said Friday that Eaton

had an MRI that revealed a small tear in the fibers around the

ulnar collateral ligament. Eaton had been bothered by a sore elbow

for a couple of weeks and the Diamondbacks had recently given him a

couple days off.

”Of course you like to play through it as a competitor,” Eaton

said. ”You don’t like to be in the training room at all and get

that type of attention. A couple of guys I talked to talked me in

to going in and getting it checked out. I was still thinking it was

nothing. I’ve never had any arm problems my whole life.”

Towers said Eaton, expected to be Arizona’s starting center

fielder and leadoff hitter, will be shut down for four weeks and

the best-case scenario for his return would be in six weeks, but

could be as long as two months.

Eaton said he wants to come back sooner.

”I’m sitting here today saying it’s not going to take me that

long,” he said. ”I’m going to do at all costs to get back

quicker. I put all my faith in the doctors but at the same time for

me there’s an aspect where I want to try to get back a little

sooner and try to push things a little bit. We’ll be smart with it,

of course, we’re not going to do anything stupid with it. But I’m

definitely going to try to do a speedy recovery for sure.”

Eaton played 22 games for the Diamondbacks late last season

before he was hit by a pitch and broke his right hand.

The speedster was to play a major role in Arizona’s plans to

change its offensive style and his absence leaves the team thin in

the outfield, with Cody Ross – projected to start in right field –

unlikely to be ready for opening day because of a calf strain. That

leaves the team with a probable outfield of Jason Kubel in left,

A.J., Pollock in center and Gerardo Parra in right.

Eaton hit .390 this spring with 23 hits and 10 RBIs in 59 at

bats.

The scrappy outfielder sent a message via Twitter thanking his

supporters.

”You know that I will work my butt off to get back in there,”

he wrote. ”It will be sooner than later.”

Eaton said that he visited team doctor Michael Lee 1 1/2 weeks

ago and, when his discomfort persisted, he underwent an MRI as a

precaution, only to discover the problem was worse than he

expected.

”It’s going to be tough to see the guys go and have fun every

day but I guess it’s all part of the game,” he said, ”but it’s

going to kill me for sure.”

The Diamondbacks will shut Eaton down completely for up to two

weeks. Eaton can hit after that but won’t be allowed to throw for

four weeks.

”It doesn’t bother him to hit and he can throw. It only bothers

him when he really lets go, a long throw,” manager Kurt Gibson.

”He will get a lot of at-bats. He will probably stay in extended

(spring training). When he gets into that window where he can throw

we will send him out for a 30-day assignment. The earliest scenario

is May 15th.”

A.J Pollock will play centerfield during some spring games.

Martin Prado is also an option in the outfield with Gerardo Parra

playing centerfield. Willie Bloomquist is another option.

”I wouldn’t rule Cody (Ross) out,” Gibson said. ”He’s been

getting at-bats. He’s not going to run but he will get eight to 12

at-bats. We have a camp day. It’s possible he could be ready in a

short period of time.”