Kirk Gibson: Adam Eaton is going to have to earn CF job

Feb 21, 2013, 12:09 AM | Updated: 12:25 am
LISTEN: Kirk Gibson, D-backs' Manager

When the Arizona Diamondbacks called up Adam Eaton last September, it was thought they were doing so to get a glimpse of their center fielder of the future.

And they may have been, but that future is not necessarily going to be 2013.

Eaton, who hit .259 with two home runs, five RBI and two stolen bases in just 22 games may have entered the offseason as the favorite to be the team’s Opening Day center fielder, but the outfield is as crowded as ever and playing time is not guaranteed.

And that’s exactly how manager Kirk Gibson likes it.

“He’s got to win that job, I’m going to tell you that right now,” the skipper told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Wednesday. Gibson noted that Eaton had a successful season in the minors and was solid in his brief Major League stint, but that doesn’t matter. “It’s a mistake for me to say ‘yeah, he’s going to be our center fielder and hope he gets 650-700 plate appearances’ and think he’s going to be able to handle that.

“That’s a lot of responsibility. I want him to play center field every day, lead off. That’s a tough go; just being a rookie is tough in itself.”

Instead of handing Eaton the job, Gibson said he is hoping Eaton earns one, but doesn’t want to “over-burden” the young player.

“I saw that with J-Up last year, you don’t want any player to go through that,” he said. “And you try to be proactive in that and stop that from happening or compounding too much where it’s all of a sudden unmanageable, so that’s a concern of mine with Adam.”

That’s not to say Gibson is not high on the 24-year-old, because he is. Saying he’s kind of a ‘throwback’ player, the manager said it’s important to see how he reacts to the pressure of being a big league ballplayer.

“When the competition starts,” he said. “Everything’s great now and this is a really positive part of the year and we love it and it’s that way every year.

“When the stuff starts hitting the fan, then we see how people react to it. The pressure. It’s tough.”

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson watches a spring training baseball workout Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson watches a spring training baseball workout Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz.(AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks' Nick Ahmed takes a throw during an unofficial spring training baseball workout Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in Scottsdale. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks' Eric Chavez hits during an unofficial spring training baseball workout Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks' Willie Bloomquist fields a ground ball during an unofficial spring training baseball workout Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt tosses the baseball during an unofficial spring training baseball workout Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks' Chris Owings makes a throw during an unofficial spring training baseball workout Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks stretch at a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Fans watch as the Arizona Diamondbacks run at a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks' Brandon McCarthy stretches at a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, right, talks with Tony Sipp during a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks stretch at a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks stretch at a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Arizona Diamondbacks' Wil Nieves stretches at a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Arizona Diamondbacks' Matt Davidson, left, awaits a throw while Martin Prado watches during a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Arizona Diamondbacks' Martin Prado throws during a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks' Brandon McCarthy throws during a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks' Aaron Hill makes a catch at second base during a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks' Trevor Cahill bunts during a spring training baseball workout on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks' Willie Bloomquist makes a throw during a baseball spring training workout Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Arizona Diamondbacks' Matt Davidson takes batting practice in a cage during a spring training baseball workout Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) A basket of baseballs are seen as Arizona Diamondbacks players take batting practice in a cage during a spring training baseball workout Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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Kirk Gibson: Adam Eaton is going to have to earn CF job