December 10, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) Until a couple of days before he was sent to the Washington Nationals, outfielder Adam Eaton had no inkling it would happen.

''I didn't expect to be traded,'' Eaton said Saturday in his first meeting with reporters since the Nationals shipped three young pitchers to the Chicago White Sox for him last week. ''I don't think anybody really expects to be traded.''

But once Eaton heard the White Sox had shipped left-hander Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox, signaling Chicago's full-on rebuilding effort, he said, ''It was kind of like: `Oh, boy, here we go.' It was kind of a downhill slope.''

Eaton and Washington's other significant offseason addition, catcher Derek Norris, were among the players attending the Nationals' annual fan festival (Bryce Harper was not).

With Washington giving Chicago its two best pitching prospects - Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, who both spent time in the majors this year - along with 2016 first-round draft pick Dane Dunning, the trade has been the subject of plenty of scrutiny.

''It's not really my job to think about that stuff,'' Eaton said. ''My job is to play the game of baseball the best way that I can.''

Describing the aftermath of the swap as a ''tornado'' and ''quite the whirlwind'' as he tried to set plans in motion for going to a new spring training site and figuring out where his family - including an 8-month-old son - will live, Eaton said he is not sure yet where manager Dusty Baker will want him to play.

''I told him I can do everything but catch. I don't want to catch. That's where I draw the line. Those guys take a beating, and I don't think my knees can take it,'' Eaton said. ''I want to win at all costs. Wherever in the lineup that may be, let it fly.''

Eaton was an AL Gold Glove finalist in center field in 2014, went through an admittedly rough season at that position in 2015, then moved to right field in 2016 and again was a Gold Glove finalist.

''I'm very capable of playing all three'' outfield spots, Eaton said.

Nationals pitching coach Mike Maddux said he's looking forward to seeing Eaton ''bouncing off the walls out there defensively, getting dirty. I mean, this guy can go 0 for 4 and get dirty. He's that kind of player.''

Maddux also thinks Norris can help Washington's pitching staff with his work behind the plate. Norris originally was drafted by the Nationals in 2007, then was traded to Oakland in the deal that brought lefty Gio Gonzalez to Washington in 2011.

He returned to the nation's capital via a trade with the San Diego Padres on Dec. 2.

''Having played with some of the guys here, and some of the coaching staff having coached me or been involved pretty frequently over my minor league career - that allows me to be a little more comfortable in this scenario,'' Norris said Saturday. ''So it's a little bit different, but in the best of ways.''

NOTES: Maddux indicated that RHP Stephen Strasburg could tweak his throwing program next season to try to be fresher for his starts. ... 2B Daniel Murphy, who missed time in September with a glute muscle problem, said he was told the issue potentially could recur, so he is being more diligent about preparing his lower body for the season. ... RHP Koda Glover said he pitched with a torn hip labrum in September. Glover, who made his major league debut in July, said he was given the choice of having surgery but decided to rehab the injury instead.

---

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

You May Like