He pulled up about halfway down the first base line on an inning-ending groundout to second:
Robin Ventura expects him to be out three days. Eaton hopes to only miss one game, but when it comes to visible muscle strains, I tend to bet the over, despite Eaton's attempt to downplay it:
"I need to make sure that I take care of the body a little better and we'll be just fine," Eaton said. "Make sure we pay a little more attention to it and take care of things and take care of what makes me run, which is my legs."
It's funny he should say that, because one pitch before he aggravated his left leg, he ran down the first base line after hitting a foul dribbler with no apparent issues ... until he unnecessarily crashed into Prince Fielder, anyway.
Eaton didn't make a connection between the two events, saying the problem stemmed from an awkward step rounding first base on Friday.
"Yesterday did not help," Eaton said. "The ankle was kind of bothering me after that. The hamstring was bothering me a little bit after that also. But I knew today was going to be kind of a struggle, but of course I wanted to be like a hockey player and battle through it.
"The first two at-bats I wanted to make sure I took it easy so I wasn't really sprinting, 85 percent or so. The third at-bat, I tried to get on it out of the box and it felt like someone was strumming the bottom of the hamstring. Precautionary to take me out and make sure I get some treatment."
Considering he was protecting the hamstring on earlier trips down the line, it doesn't seem like crashing into somebody twice the weight is the best use of maxium effort.
Either way, it's worth adding to the dossier on Eaton's unnecessary physical risks, because there was literally nothing to gain from running in a straight line here. Even if the ball were fair and Fielder couldn't handle it cleanly, Eaton still would've been out because rules are rules.
Any runner is out when...
(b) He intentionally interferes with a thrown ball; or hinders a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball;
Rule 7.08(b) Comment: A runner who is adjudged to have hindered a fielder who is attempting to make a play on a batted ball is out whether it was intentional or not.
Eaton had no interest in hearing criticism about his style of play the last time it came up, but it seems like you can draw the line between diving into first and running into fielders (Prince or otherwise) trying to make a play, because the rulebook actually legislates against the latter.
This is especially more pressing since the Avisail Garcia injury, because with Paul Konerko's redundancy, carrying an inactive Eaton essentially arms Ventura with a 23-man roster, which isn't what he needs during a four-game losing streak.
It seems a little early to wonder about a DL stint, but even if there were ample reason to ask who might replace him, you wouldn't want to hear the answer. At the moment, all outfielders in Charlotte are hitting below .215.