Eaton tweaks ankle, but expects to return in a day or two

It was both a wonderful sight to behold while simultaneously leaving 42,477 people inside Nationals Park holding their collective breaths. Adam Eaton being waved around third base on a double into the left field corner? How long has everyone been waiting for that moment since that fateful night nearly one year ago when the Nationals outfielder tore his left ACL tripping over first base against this same Mets ballclub?

The good news: Eaton was safe, thanks to José Reyes' wide relay throw to the plate. The better news: His surgically repaired knee was fine after that 270-foot scamper around the bases on Anthony Rendon's third-inning double. The not-so-great news: He tweaked his left ankle during the slide and had to be removed from the game three innings later.

"Nothing major," Eaton insisted after the Nationals' disappointing 8-2 loss in their home opener. "It's my ankle, ironically enough. I don't know all the technical jazz that goes along with it, but I think a little tweak, a little scar tissue decided to come up during that (slide). But they don't think anything major. It's like a day or so for it to realign itself and be good."

Manager Davey Martinez described the decision to remove Eaton before the bottom of the sixth "precautionary" and said X-rays on the outfielder's ankle came back negative. With the Nationals off Friday and facing a possible snowout Saturday afternoon, he could get more than 48 hours to rest up before taking the field again Sunday night for the series finale.

Adam-Eaton-run-spring-sidebar.jpg"We'll take a day, maybe two, depending on what the weather's going to be like Saturday," Eaton said. "It seems like it's not going to be very friendly, so we might have a blessing in disguise there. We'll definitely take those days."

Though the torn ACL was the most significant injury Eaton suffered last year, he did also hurt his ankle on the same play. So his rehab hasn't been restricted only to his mid-leg.

"I think everyone worried about my knee, but at the same time we did tear my ankle, too," he said. "We kind of forget about it, put it on the back burner, but we'll give it some attention and get back out there."

Eaton has put his entire body through plenty of rigorous tests already in the season's first week, from baserunning to diving attempts in left field. And he already had gotten a good workout in today in his first at-bat, doubling to right-center to open the bottom of the first and scoring on Rendon's single to right field that was bobbled by the Mets' Jay Bruce.

Third base coach Bob Henley initially held Eaton up at third on that first-inning hit before the Bruce error. Two innings later, Henley was waving his leadoff man around from the get-go, even though left fielder Yoenis Cespédes had already retrieved the ball in the corner and fired it back to Reyes. Had the relay been on target, Eaton probably would've been out by 10 feet. Instead, he wriggled his way around Kevin Plawecki's tag with an awkward slide that nearly ended in a face plant.

"At that point, Adam's not going to slow down," Martinez said. "I mean, you know how he is. He's rip-raring to go. He said he felt great. At that point in the game, Bobby sent him. He tells Bobby every day how he feels, and he said he felt fine."

Eaton said he's made that slide "a million times" before, but this time his ankle got caught up in the batter's box, leading to a less-than-perfect dive.

"It wasn't a very easygoing slide," he said. "I think my pride was hurt more than anything else. But anything for a run. I'm glad we could get across there."

The National League Player of the Week after going 8-for-13 with seven runs, two homers and five RBIs in Cincinnati, Eaton still maintains a .455 batting average, with 10 runs and five extra-base hits to his stat line.

If he needs an extra couple of days to get himself back on the field after this incident, so be it. He insists it won't require a stint on the disabled list.

"No, no, nothing like that," he said. "I've come way too far to go first to home and blow it out. We'll get back in there, slowly but surely. If it was the playoffs, they'd put some type of tape on me and run me back out there. But we're in the seventh game. We've got a lot more ahead of us."

Friday morning Nats Q&A
Nats drop third straight 8-2 in dud of a home open...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to