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Adam Eaton says his elbow is fully healed

Updated: March 20, 2014 6:38AM



GLENDALE, Ariz. — Adam Eaton tore his left ulnar collateral ligament during spring training last year. He rehabbed the elbow and was working his way back before suffering a reoccurrence in May.

Eaton, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the three-way trade that sent Hector Santiago to the Los Angeles Angels, said the elbow is feeling great, which is critical because the leadoff spot and job in center field is his to lose.

“You guys can watch me today if you want,’’ he said, as if to dispel any doubt.

A .348 hitter with a .450 on-base percentage over four minor-league seasons and 1,560 plate appearances, Eaton batted .252 with a .314 on-base mark in 277 plate appearances with the D-backs in 2013.

He said the elbow affected his hitting last season because it cut down on his batting practice and cage time.

“I think a good percentage was the injury,’’ he said. “For two stints, for four or five weeks each stint, I didn’t hit at all. It was tough to come in in July, where guys are hitting midseason stride, for me to step right in as a rookie.’’

Jones on mend

Right-hander Nate Jones (gluteus strain) is in good spirits and is making progress but will not be rushed back. Jones could start baseball activity this week.

“Hopefully it’s getting better,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “Don’t do anything until you’re well enough to do it. Still plenty of time down here to get ready. I would rather him not reinjure anything or do anything worse at this point.’’

This and that

Avisail Garcia, Gordon Beckham, Eaton and Jeff Keppinger were in camp Tuesday. Broadcaster Steve Stone also made his first appearance. The first official day for position players is Thursday.

† Adam Dunn will switch from No. 32 to
No. 44, his old number with the Cincinnati Reds. Jake Peavy had No. 44 when Dunn arrived in 2011.

† New nicknames heard around clubhouse: Jose Abreu, ‘‘Yogi”; Eaton, “Gremlin”; Felipe Paulino, “Jumbo.”

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan



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