7/24/2013 10:56 P.M. ET
Eaton hopes big game acts as springboard
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Frustrated with his slow start to the season after missing the first three months with an elbow injury, D-backs outfielder Adam Eaton decided it was time Tuesday to shake things up.
First, the 24-year-old debuted a thick mustache. Then, after grounding out in his first at-bat, Eaton turned to three young boys seated behind the on-deck circle to rub his bat for good luck.
The end result? Eaton, who entered the game hitting .185, reached base the final four times he stepped to the plate, scoring three runs, including the go-ahead run with the score tied at 1.
"There's no thinking behind it;, we're all head cases," Eaton said of his superstitious behavior. "It's nice to be serious, but you realize it's just a game."
Once the D-backs recorded the final out in their 10-4 victory, Eaton went over to the children and handed them a couple of bats and batting gloves to thank them for helping him out.
"The boys were having a good time with it, and it worked out well," he said. "Whenever I came up, they'd be grinning ear to ear. That made it fun for me. We're just kids playing this game, so being able to relate to them was fun."
Eaton hopes his big night will be a springboard for the remainder of the season, which began with sky-high expectations and even some National League Rookie of the Year talk before he was hurt in Spring Training.
"Hopefully I can get going a little bit now," he said. "It's good to get a little confidence. Any player in here will tell you that it's tough to come off the disabled list when you haven't hit big league pitching in three months and to pick up right where you left off is pretty difficult."
The D-backs know what a hot-hitting Eaton can do for them as well. The club has used Gerardo Parra in the leadoff spot for the majority of the season, but Eaton is a more natural fit.
"Everybody has seen what he can do, he puts the pressure on people, he adds a different element to how we can manufacture runs," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's going to start some crap with other teams, they aren't going to like how he does things, but that adds an edge to us. I like it. He's a good player in all facets."
Gibson plans to lighten Miggy's workload
PHOENIX -- While preparing for a potential pinch-hit scenario, D-backs catcher Miguel Montero tweaked his back swinging in the cages during Tuesday's game and subsequently was not in the lineup Wednesday for the second consecutive day.
The 30-year-old underwent an MRI on Wednesday and the D-backs are listing him as day to day.
"He had a stiff back, so we're just going to give him another day," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
The two days off marks the first time this season Montero has sat multiple games in a row. Entering Wednesday, his 778 innings behind the plate in 2013 were the most in baseball by 25 innings over the next closest catcher, Yadier Molina.
Gibson added that when Montero does return to the lineup, he will begin to receive more regular rest.
"We've ridden him pretty hard," Gibson said. "We're probably not going to do it that way right now. It's probably not going to be as much. We'll try to get Wil [Nieves] more time."
Montero is currently in the first season of a $60 million, five-year contract he signed last May and the D-backs want to make sure they don't push him too hard.
"He's never going to say no, but even a little bit of rest goes a long way," Nieves said. "We want him healthy the next five years, we want him 100 percent. I'm not saying put him on the bench, but it's tough catching so much. It's hard for him not to be in the lineup but it's good for him."
After hitting .282 in 2011 and .286 in 2012, Montero has labored all season at the plate, batting just .226, his lowest average since his first full year in the Majors back in 2007.
Nieves, who has played for six different organizations over his decade-long career, said he has never seen a backstop be worked as hard as Montero has this year.
"I told Miggy in Spring Training, 'You're young, but you're going to need some rest.'" Nieves said. "If you can have a backup that can catch those day games once a week, for him and the team, it helps a lot. He'll have more energy when he's in there."
• Aaron Hill was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game Wednesday. The second baseman is 4-for-30 over his past eight games. In his place, Eric Chavez remained in the cleanup spot after going 2-for-4 with three RBIs on Tuesday. Martin Prado manned second base.
"We're playing different guys, nothing more to it," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Chavez swung the bat good last night, and sometimes guys need breathers. With Hilly, he missed a long period of time and you could see he is overthinking things. We have pretty good flexibility with our lineup and Chavez is healthy, so we're going that way today."
• Gibson had strong words Wednesday regarding Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, who has yet to speak publicly since Major League Baseball suspended him for the remainder of the 2013 season earlier this week.
"I think it's interesting that we haven't heard from him," Gibson said. "Something tells me he's rehearsing his next speech right now. He did pretty good at the last one.
"For me, I think Braun should get in front of microphone and address people because, honestly, we don't really know what it is. I think it'd be useful to get it out and then he can go from there. That's where I'm at on that."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.