WASHINGTON -- Updates from left fielder Adam Eaton on the status of his injured left ankle since he landed on the disabled list on April 11 have been scarce and, most recently, nonexistent. That is, until Tuesday, when he arrived at the Nationals' clubhouse on crutches and sporting a cast
WASHINGTON -- Updates from left fielder Adam Eaton on the status of his injured left ankle since he landed on the disabled list on April 11 have been scarce and, most recently, nonexistent. That is, until Tuesday, when he arrived at the Nationals' clubhouse on crutches and sporting a cast on his left leg a few days after he underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove cartilage from the ankle.
Eaton revealed when he tore his ACL last April that he also dislocated the ankle and shattered the bone. In addition to his knee, he spent nearly a year rehabbing the ankle, but even when the knee was good enough to start playing, he admitted it was uncomfortable for him to run on the ankle, which was heavily wrapped and nearly immobile.
But he played through it, and for eight games he was fantastic, batting .345/.424/.655 to start the season. Then he attempted to score from first during a game on April 5 against the Mets, and finished with an awkward slide at the plate. Somewhere along the way during that run, he broke up some scar tissue in his ankle, causing the new issue. During the surgery last week in Wisconsin, a bone flap was removed from his ankle, and he believes this will fix the problem.
Eaton was upbeat and optimistic about his status. After the ankle made little progress for six weeks, he finally had a diagnosis, and fixed the problem, and that injury gave his knee enough time to fully recover. Although the Nationals have maintained that there is no timetable for his return, Eaton said he is aiming to return to the field in about six weeks.
"It's going to be soon," Eaton said. "I want to push things. I think we know exactly what's going on in there now, and we have answers. I'm pumped to get out there and rehab and strengthen ... this thing and be back for half the season.
It's unclear whether the Nationals will abide by the schedule Eaton has set for himself. They want to be more cautious with Eaton to ensure he avoids a setback once he does return.
"If you know Adam, he's raring to go," manager Dave Martinez said. "So we have to slow him down a little bit."
"Now we're in the best-case scenario possible," Eaton said. "I have fixed the bone. I have fixed my knee. I feel great. I'm excited that the next six weeks in my plan is to get strong and to be ready. I can never be in a better place right now mentally and physically. I'm pumped to rehab and get back."
Murphy to begin rehab assignment soon
The Nationals sent second baseman Daniel Murphy to West Palm Beach, Fla., this week to continue the rehab process on his surgically repaired right knee, but Martinez had some encouraging news on his progress.
After the way Murphy came out of his running program this past weekend in Arizona, the Nationals want him to begin a Minor League rehab assignment soon.
"We want him to play in games, like a normal game," Martinez said. "He's going to go play the field, hit, run, just like you typically would. I don't know how much he's going to play, but at least we want to get him started."
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.