Preview: Game #90: Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers

USA TODAY Sports

Adam Eaton makes his season debut for the Diamondbacks at Chase Field tonight. Welcome back, Spanky!

lad_medium

Ricky Nolasco
RHP, 5-8, 3.85
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Ian Kennedy
RHP, 3-4, 5.16

Diamondbacks Line-up

  1. Adam Eaton, CF
  2. Gerardo Parra, RF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Aaron Hill, 2B
  5. Eric Chavez, 3B
  6. Martin Prado, LF
  7. Miguel Montero, C
  8. Didi Gregorius, SS
  9. Ian Kennedy, P

There's a tool we use when writing stories for the SnakePit, that automatically links players' names to their SB Nation profiles. Except, there are a few that it doesn't work on, because there's more than one player with the same name. Chris Young used to be one such, and it was always a somewhat irritating chore to have to link his name manually in the line-up because the tool couldn't figure out if you meant the D-backs outfielder or the Padres/Mets pitcher. I haven't had to do it this season at all, up until today. But I can honestly say that I did so with a smile just now, because it means Eaton is back, even if it took three months longer than we wanted.

I was quite surprised to see him back today, after only a single game with Reno - hardly seems worth the effort of sending him from Visalia to Fresno (where the Aces were playing) for that. Still, if he is fully recovered, there's not much point in having him in the minor leagues. Certainly, his numbers look good: in ten games of rehab, between rookie ball, A-ball and Triple-A, he went 10-for-32, with a line of .375/.512/.625. The key, however, is whether his arm can handle throwing from center field, because that's what got him put on the DL to start with, and also what derailed Eaton's first comeback, at the end of May.

It certainly gives the D-backs line-up a whole new look: he's kinda like Tony Campana with decent on-base skills. And when I say "decent", that's a polite way of saying "frakkin' awesome," because Eaton's on-base percentage in the minors is now .450. He won't do that in the majors, but put it together with a 76% stolen-base success rate, and you'll begin to see why so many were excited to see what he could do before this year. While he probably has missed too much time to make any kind of run at Rookie of the Year (for which he was often listed as a candidate pre-season), he can certainly have an impact on the team.

Longer term, be interesting to see what it means as the trade deadline approaches. We're probably one outfielder in excess of need, with Parra, Ross, A.J. Pollock and Jason Kubel on the roster. Doubt we'll do much immediately, until Eaton has proven himself 100%, but with the success of Pollock (third on the team among position players in fWAR thus far, at 1.9) it wouldn't surprise me if Kubel was moved by the deadline, perhaps for a left-handed reliever, given the likely long-term absence of Matt Reynolds. That would still give us some platoon flexibility, with two left-handed outfelders (Parra and Eaton) and three righties (Pollock, Ross and Prado).

Will Eaton's 2013 debut be a winning one? That'd certainly be nice.

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