Washington Nationals: Adam Eaton departs with ankle injury

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ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 03: Adam Eaton
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 03: Adam Eaton /
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Adam Eaton got off to a great start before departing the Washington Nationals’ 8-2 loss to the New York Mets early with an ankle injury.

After beginning the year 4-0, the Washington Nationals have now dropped three straight. The two losses in Atlanta were rough, but losing the home opener to the rival New York Mets stung quite a bit.

However, despite losing the home opener by six runs to a division rival, the main focus is on Adam Eaton’s health.

After missing nearly all of his debut season in DC with a torn ACL, Eaton has gotten off to an outstanding start in 2018. After an incredible series in Cincinnati, including a 5-for-5 performance, he was even named the National League Player of the Week.

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Then, Eaton got off to a great start on Thursday against the Mets. He doubled to begin the Nats’ half of the first and eventually came around to score on an Anthony Rendon single.

Eaton walked in his second at-bat and scored on a Rendon hit once again. This time, he scored from first on a typical Rendon double.

For Eaton, who has not yet played all nine innings and is still working to get his knee back to full-strength, this was an exceptionally long run. It also concluded with an awkward slide into home plate.

The play at the plate was a bit frightening, but Eaton got up laughing and remained in the game. Everything appeared to be fine.

A couple innings later, Michael Conforto homered over Eaton’s head in left field. The ball barely cleared the fence, so Eaton ran after it and pulled up short when it landed.

As F.P. Santangelo has pointed out, decelerating is difficult for a player coming off of major knee surgery. This has been especially evident when Eaton runs well into right field on grounders, as he slowly decelerates.

On the home run, Eaton came to a quick stop and immediately appeared uncomfortable. Ron Darling, the Mets’ broadcaster, speculated that it may have been related to his hip flexor.

After the game, it was announced that Eaton tweaked his ankle on the slide into home. He underwent x-rays, which came back clean.

The fact that nothing is structurally wrong with Eaton is a breath of fresh air for the Nats, who have dealt with injury after injury over the last few years. It appears they may have dodged a bullet on this one.

If Eaton is forced to spend time on the disabled list, even just as a precaution, the Nats will be without their spark plug once again. Turner can lead off, but he has gotten off to a sluggish start to 2018 and struck out three times in the home opener.

Fortunately, it does not appear that Eaton will need to make a trip to the disabled list. He may miss a few games, but should be back in the lineup shortly.

Next: Nats right to extend Mike Rizzo

The Nats had an ugly home opener, which was exaggerated by Eaton’s injury. Now that they know he will not miss significant time, they can take a collective sigh of relief.

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