Rehabbing Chavez sets sights on a return in 2010
SEATTLE — Eric Chavez recently began rehabilitating his back after having his second microdiscectomy surgery June 23.
And he still has his sights set on returning to third base for the A's in 2010.
But the six-time AL Gold Glove winner said Wednesday that if his back won't let him play defense, transitioning into a DH-type role might be his best bet for extending his career.
"I've never hurt my back swinging or rotating, it's always been bending down (fielding grounders) or whatever," said Chavez, who's been getting treatment from a Seattle-based doctor for the past two weeks. "If it doesn't work playing third, I'll try to hit, try to extend my career a couple years doing that."
Chavez was in good spirits chatting with reporters during batting practice at Safeco Field. His wife, Alex, gave birth to their third child — a boy, Cruz — three weeks ago.
He was pleased to hear Brett Wallace, who might be Oakland's future third baseman, is knocking the cover off the ball for Triple-A Sacramento.
As for his future, Chavez is realistic about a return to full health. His right shoulder, which has been operated on twice, still "feels like garbage" sometimes. His back began acting up while he sat for a few innings watching Monday's game. But Chavez said he'll take advantage of the eight-month recovery time he has until spring training in February.
"I'm going to take care of everything, get in great shape, roll the dice and see what happens," he said.
Adenhart pitched against the A's on April 8 before being involved in a fatal car accident early the next morning.
It's the A's first visit to Angel Stadium since the tragedy.
A's catcher Kurt Suzuki has done extensive fundraising to support Jon Wilhite, a former college teammate who survived the crash.
The Angels will honor the crash victims before Saturday's game, with Wilhite throwing out the first pitch. Suzuki said his parents are flying in from Maui, Hawaii, in part to spend time with Wilhite's parents.
— Joe Stiglich