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Eaton returns to majors with Diamondbacks

Adam Eaton didn’t have to wait long, relatively speaking, to make it to the big leagues. Drafted in 2010, the 2007 Kenton Ridge graduate and former Miami University center fielder made his debut with the Diamondbacks last September after less than three seasons in the minors.

Eaton’s second debut, so to speak, didn’t take long either, but it sure felt like a long wait. Eaton was expected to start the season with the Diamondbacks, but a sprained elbow ligament set him back in spring training and again in May. He finally made his 2013 debut on Tuesday against the Dodgers in Phoenix.

“I had a hard time breathing out there,” Eaton said Wednesday. “Things are happening fast. It was a heck of a day. You get called up that morning. It was nerve-wracking for sure. To get that first one out of the way is nice. Getting on track is going to be key here in the next couple days.”

Eaton, 24, hit leadoff and played center for the Diamondbacks. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in a 6-1 loss to the Dodgers. Through Tuesday’s games, Arizona (47-43) led the Dodgers by 2½ games in the National League West.

Eaton also committed an error, stumbling on the warning track just before he tried to catch a deep fly ball. The ball glanced off his glove, and two runs scored on the play, though Eaton retrieved the ball fast enough that the Diamondbacks were able to throw Yasiel Puig out at home plate.

“Not how we drew it up,” Eaton wrote on Facebook. “But we will be back tomorrow.”

Eaton hit .259 with a .382 on-base percentage in 22 games last September with Arizona. He was hitting .256 with a .367 on-base percentage in 26 minor league games this year.

Eaton’s elbow first started bothering him in March. He was expected to miss one to two months. He returned to action in May with Triple-A Reno, but the elbow problem flared up again. An MRI revealed no structural damage, just irritation. He began a rehab assignment with Single-A Visalia on June 28.

Eaton said the Diamondbacks told him they might call up early in his rehab assignment or later in the season. He never knows and is prepared for anything.

“It’s been an interesting year to say the least,” Eaton said. “I’ve learned a lot about myself as a baseball player and as a person. Being a rookie on the disabled list is a difficult time. Having a setback on top of that, it’s difficult, but you learn from it. You constantly work on yourself as an individual and as a baseball player. I think I’m better for it.”

Eaton said his elbow is feeling great.

“I got quite a few throws last night,” he said. “It feels great today. It felt great last night. I’m ready to roll. It’s going to be fun.”

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