Rookie center fielder Adam Eaton showed enough in his September immersion with the Arizona Diamondbacks to draw praise from manager Kirk Gibson.
"I'd say overall, a huge success in the time he was up here and encouraging what his future is, what he could do for us," Gibson said before the D-backs fell to the Chicago Cubs 7-2 on Sunday.
Eaton will miss the final four games of the season after suffering a broken left hand when he was hit by a pitch in an 8-2 victory over the Cubs on Saturday, but he provided a spark at the top of the order in his 26 days after being promoted from Class AAA Reno on Sept. 4.
Eaton hit .259 in 85 at-bats, with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and two stolen bases. He also drew 14 walks and was hit by three pitches, giving him a .382 on-base percentage. Catcher Miguel Montero's .394 on-base percentage is the highest on the team.
"He makes some young mistakes, yet I like his drive, his determination, the different things that he can do, the energy that he brings," Gibson said. "He's found out some things they will exploit on him and he made some adjustments, and I think he did decently at that. Showed a little bit of power. Showed a little bit of slashing and slapping at the ball. Certainly aggressive on the bases."
Eaton, 23, made 21 starts, all in the leadoff spot and 20 in center field, as the D-backs attempted to get a quick, intense read on the player who was the Pacific League MVP and Rookie of the Year while hitting .375 with 47 doubles and 44 stolen bases at two levels.
"Certainly curious about that," Gibson said when asked whether Eaton can be a leadoff hitter. "He's a battler for sure. That's what we're looking for. It's disruptive. We want to see as many pitches as we can. Want to see a guy who doesn't go down easily. Certainly, the way he exits the box, any time he puts the all on the ground, certainly to the left side, gives him an opportunity. He's beaten several balls out to the infield since he's been here."
Eaton, 5 feet 8 and 183 pounds, led the minor leagues with 98 hits and 130 runs.
"It's been a really memorable year," Eaton said. "To end on this note kind of sucks, but it's better to happen now than in March or in spring training."