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MLB: Nationals' Adam Eaton gets blowback for remarks on minor leagues

Life in the minor leagues can be a struggle – long hours, long road trips and paychecks so small that critics have claimed players are being exploited. Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton agrees with all of that. "But I think it's for the betterment of everybody," Eaton told Washington City Paper in a story published last week. Eaton, who spent a significant chunk of his professional career in the minors, told the newspaper that he would like to see some conditions in the minors change – more sanitary clubhouses, for example, devoid of spiders and mildew like some of the spaces he encountered. But he also believes "struggle is good" and "struggle makes people tougher" – comments that have prompted backlash on social media over the past few days. "I hate to say this but I kind of see it from the owner’s standpoint, you got to harden the guys and get the guys going in the right direction, make them work hard," Eaton told Washington City Paper, which posted a complete transcript of his remarks Monday. The 30-year-old outfielder also likened poor minor-league conditions to military boot camps. "I hate the parallel because we're not dying, we’re not life or death, but (it's) pretty similar," Eaton told the newspaper . "You want people to have an appreciation to be the best person they can and be hardened, and not be complacent, just like our military. That's what they do. Make it crappy." POWER RANKINGS : Phillies floundering at a crucial time BRAVES : Atlanta ready to run away with NL East? A $1.3-trillion spending bill passed by Congress last year included a section that exempts minor-league baseball players from federal minimum-wage laws. According to the Associated Press , minor-league players were scheduled to make between $1,100 and $2,150 per month in 2018 depending on the level of the league, which players in Class AAA receiving the highest salaries. Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad .