Real discouraging news out of A’s headquarters, where Eric Chavez is having more back difficulties. It’s impossible to imagine he won’t start the year on the disabled list.
Of bigger concern is whether he can ever get to a point where he is a productive player again. Head trainer Larry Davis had a saying he often used when discussing medical terms. ” Once a back, always a back.” Not difficult to understand what he means. Thus, Chavez will always have to take great pains to keep his back healthy, and because of his back, he’ll likely always have some kind of pain.
Right now, the trouble seems to be arising after he starts to take ground balls. He hasn’t stayed healthy enough for a long enough period to get a read on how swinging will affect it, but obviously, that action causes stress, too. As does running.
In other words, it’s a very scary time with Chavez right now. He had surgery to fix his back issues in the offseason, and these setbacks are not what you have in mind after having surgery. That said, Mark Kotsay had the same surgery a year ago, struggled at the outset of his comeback, and now seems to be doing OK in Atlanta. So maybe all Chavez needs is more time.
In the meantime, the A’s cannot count on him ever being as productive as he once was. And they’ll cross their fingers that the rest of the news from the medical ward stays fairly tame.