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Adam Eaton, Nationals outfielder, ready for first spring training game

March 16, 2018 GMT

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton said Friday he plans to make his first appearance in a spring training game on Saturday against the New York Mets.

The left-handed hitter, slated to play left field for Washington, has been working on back fields and said he has made at least 50 plate appearances in minor league games or controlled games.

“I feel really better today than I did yesterday,” he said Friday. “I feel tomorrow I will have more bursts. I trust them; they have gotten me this far. We still have 10 days till we leave (spring training). When we are on the back field, I slide into third on going from first to third. I have gotten more at bats than if I would have had a normal spring training. Overall, my body feels great. I think I will feel fresh for the season. Either I am ready, or I am not. When the lights come on, let’s do it. When I play in a game, I better feel 100 percent. There are no ghost runners. When it is time to go we are going to go.”

The Nationals open the season March 29 at Cincinnati.

“He will play tomorrow,” Nats manager Dave Martinez said Friday of Eaton. “We want to get him out in the field and ease his way in.”

Eaton injured his ACL while running out at a grounder in late April last season at Nationals Park and missed the rest of the season. He was acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox after the 2017 in a deal that sent three young pitchers to the White Sox: Dane Dunning, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito.

Eaton hit .297 in 23 games with three steals last year for Washington. He has played center field at the major league level, but the Nats plan to use Michael A. Taylor in center this year with Eaton in left. Jayson Werth played left most of last year for Washington in the last year of a seven-year deal. Werth has not signed on with any team as of Friday.

Taylor, bothered by some rib soreness, will also play Saturday, Martinez said.