Eaton day to day after tweaking left ankle

April 5th, 2018

WASHINGTON -- After a sprint from first base to the plate, Nationals left fielder slid awkwardly into home plate in the third inning of Thursday's 8-2 loss to the Mets. He slid in safely to score his second run of the game, but he also tweaked his left ankle during the play and was eventually removed from the game in the sixth inning.

X-rays came back negative and Eaton said he felt good after the game and would likely only need a day or two of rest before he is ready to return to the lineup. It allows Washington to breathe a sigh of relief for Eaton, whose hot start at the plate has made him a catalyst for the Nationals' offense. Eaton attributed his injury scare to some leftover scar tissue in his ankle and said the move to leave the game was precautionary.

"I think everyone worried about my knee [after the torn ACL], but at the same time we did tear my ankle, too," Eaton said. "We kind of forget about it, put it on the back burner, but we'll give it some attention and get back out there."

Initially, Eaton tried to play through the ankle injury. But he pulled up short chasing down a home run from during the fifth inning in left field. Upon returning to the dugout after the inning, he had a conversation with the team's coaching staff and was removed from the game. took over in left field.

Eaton, who went 1-for-1 with a double, a walk and a pair of runs scored, was confident that he would be able to avoid a stint on the disabled list and should be able to return to the lineup in the coming days. With an off-day Friday and inclement weather in the forecast Saturday, it is possible Eaton may not have to miss any games at all.

"If it was the playoffs, they'd put some type of tape on me and run me back out there," Eaton said. "But we're in the seventh game. We've got a lot more ahead of us. So for precautionary reasons, they made sure I'm going to be 100 percent."

Eaton caught his spikes in the dirt on the awkward slide and thought perhaps he tripped over the toe hold in the batter's box. Sending him home to score at that point was a risk considering a strong relay throw would have likely had him beat at the plate, but Mets catcher could not coral the relay throw from .

"It wasn't a very easygoing slide," Eaton said. "I think my pride was hurt more than anything else."