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Eaton's aggressiveness on bases leads to scuffle

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PHOENIX -- Adam Eaton's all-out style of play had a tendency to rub opposing players the wrong way during his climb through the Minor Leagues, and the D-backs outfielder drew the wrath of Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas on Wednesday.

Eaton led off the game with a bunt single and reached second on pitcher James Shields' throwing error. With one out and Mark Teahen at the plate, Eaton thought he could catch the Royals napping, so he took off for third before Shields delivered a pitch.

Shields, though, stepped off and threw to Moustakas, who tagged out Eaton. In the process the two got tangled up and Moustakas wound up with a split lip and the two exchanged words as Eaton left the field.

"Just a guy not knowing the game, that's all it is," Moustakas said. "Just doesn't have a feel for the game, that's it. That's all I've got to say."

Eaton said he was simply trying to be aggressive and any contact with Moustakas was unintentional.

"For sure, any guy that steals bases and tries to get an advantage and max out their effort is going to sometimes rub people the wrong way," Eaton said. "I just take it with a grain of salt and learn from it. We just kind of got a little tangled up and I guess he took offense to it. You take it your own way and I guess that's just how it crumbled."

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, who encourages his players to be aggressive on the bases, said his only problem with the play was Eaton's decision to try and run there.

"He just got too excited to go," Gibson said. "That's what he has to learn. He has to learn when and when not. He wants to go, he wants to do well.

"He has tools. To be fair, we all know he needs to learn how to use his tools. As far as Moustakas, I don't give a [expletive] what he thinks."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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