4/12/2014 7:28 P.M. ET
Eaton's fast start pacing White Sox offense
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Adam Eaton downplays the depiction of being the most exciting player in Major League Baseball, which he was anointed by teammate Chris Sale during Friday's postgame.
But while that compliment comes with a little South Side bias, there's absolutely no denying the huge effect the hard-nosed leadoff man has already had on the 2014 White Sox offense.
"He has never once taken a second off, taken a step back," said Sale of Eaton.
"I would say we're all biased, but he brings a certain element that is exciting," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Eaton. "It's fun to watch. It's fun to see him hit a baseball and run. If we could all run that fast, run that way, we probably would. You just feel lucky he's on your team. I think guys feed off it somewhat, just his energy that he brings."
While Alexei Ramirez (.413 average, 1.090 OPS) and Tyler Flowers (.419, 1.003) have provided the White Sox balance from the eighth and ninth slots, Eaton and Jose Abreu have made the biggest impact. Eaton finished Saturday afternoon's 12-6 loss to the Indians as the American League leader with 14 runs scored, having reached base 16 times in the last five games and as the owner of five straight multihit efforts.
Eaton's energy and attitude seem to be as important to the White Sox cause as his significant early production.
"There's good energy and positive energy," said Ramirez, through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "I'm going to mention Adam Eaton. He's always on base, he's fast, he takes the extra base and brings extra energy."
"Continue to compete. That's all we can do," Eaton said. "When you throw the best out there every single pitch, let the cards fall where they may."
No timetable for closer Jones' return
CHICAGO -- An MRI pinpointing the source of Nate Jones' issues as his lower back and an ensuing epidural has Jones feeling as if he's heading in the right direction. But Jones still has not done any baseball activities since going on the disabled list on April 4 and isn't sure when he'll be able to start throwing.
"I have no timetable whatsoever," Jones said. "I just want to feel 100 percent before I come back. We're just taking it a day at a time, making sure I feel good, making sure we get rid of all the symptoms before we start throwing again."
"But until he's out really throwing and doing something, then we'll start looking forward to that," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Right now, he's just one of the guys that's in there getting treated by [White Sox head athletic trainer] Herm [Schneider]."
Jones admitted to being surprised by the back diagnosis, because he had no pain or symptoms in that area. The injury that slowed him down at the outset of Spring Training was diagnosed as a left glute strain.
Jones is doing strengthening exercises for his hip, glute and back, and he understands that his back could be a recurring injury. He's focused on just pitching healthy, which he wasn't able to do in his two outings this season, in which he didn't retire an opposing hitter.
"The discomfort, I felt like it was more in my hip area," Jones said. "It was when I landed mostly that it affected me. When I'm trying to throw a pitch and worry about the pain in my hip, trying to throw a strike, you saw how it ended. It didn't work out too well."
Veteran Dunn staying focused on present
CHICAGO -- Adam Dunn remains well aware that his four-year, $56-million deal with the White Sox comes to an end after the 2014 campaign. Much like his attitude in Spring Training, though, the veteran designated hitter isn't thinking about anything aside from the game at hand.
"I know it's boring, but that's the answer," said Dunn when asked about his future. "I don't think it would be fair to myself or anyone for me to look past today.
"So that's kind of how I've always tried to go about it. It's hard. It's definitely hard to do, but I'm not worried about anything else. I'm worried about today, and I'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow."
Dunn has expressed a willingness to do whatever the White Sox need in order to succeed. In Friday's 9-6 victory over the Indians, Dunn walked twice and reached base two more times via a single and a double. He drove in two runs with a single during Saturday's 12-6 loss and has a .410 on-base percentage and .893 OPS through the first 12 games.
With Avisail Garcia's season coming to a tough end on Wednesday in Colorado, Dunn is ready to play in the outfield if needed.
"I'm taking fly balls out there. I took them in Colorado," said Dunn, who didn't have an at-bat during the Interleague series. "I'll go do whatever.
"It doesn't matter. If that is the case, I'll be ready. But the way that [Dayan] Viciedo and [Alejandro] De Aza are playing, they deserve to be out there as well."
Ventura glad to see team doing the little things
CHICAGO -- The potent White Sox offense, leading the Major Leagues with 6.36 runs per game entering Saturday, has been spurred by the team's ability to execute the intangibles that set up scoring opportunities.
"There's a lot more execution going on right now of getting guys over, sac fly," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Little things that there was difficulties in the past of getting done, that now you're seeing guys be able to do that.
"Once you get the momentum and the feeling of doing that, everybody's on board, and you feel like you want to be part of it. That's a good team offensive mindset to have."
Ventura also likes the extended at-bats from some of his hitters. Marcus Semien (4.51, 8th) and Adam Eaton (4.19, 24th) both rank in the Top 25 of pitches per plate appearance in the AL.
"It is big," Ventura said. "Guys fouling off pitches, making a guy work for it. That's part of the concept and mentality that you have to have to be able to win games.
"You look at teams that win over the years -- they make a pitcher work for it. You don't see any easy innings, easy at-bats. Right now, that's offensively what we're doing. If they want to put out four hours and 50 minutes [game time], I'll sit here for four hours and 50 minutes, as long as we're doing what we're supposed to be doing."
Third to first
• Gordon Beckham is taking batting practice and ground balls during his rehab assignment for a strained left oblique with Double-A Birmingham, but he has not yet returned to the lineup.
"He wasn't in a game. Just being cautious," said Ventura of Beckham, who played on April 3 for the Barons before re-aggravating his injury. "Every time you feel something or it doesn't feel right then that kind of sets him back, so right now he's just taking a couple rounds of BP and taking some ground balls. I think he'll be in, in a few days."
• Entering Saturday's action, the White Sox lead the AL in hits (32), at-bats (110) and RBIs (56) with runners in scoring position.
• Jake Petricka worked at least two innings in three of his first four appearances this season, including the two innings he pitched in relief of Chris Sale Friday. He went at least two innings in just two of his 16 appearances in 2013.