By Joe Stiglich
Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 at 3:56 pm in 2009 regular season.
Not a misprint in that subject line, folks. Eric Chavez is starting at first base for the A’s tonight against the Texas Rangers. It turns out both of Jason Giambi’s hamstrings are sore. He had been nursing one sore hamstring, and the other one tightened up on him as he beat out an infield single last night in the fifth inning (who knew how close the A’s were to losing FIVE players in one game?).
This is quite an odd twist on things, but we’ve come to expect the unexpected w/this team. Chavez said just last night he was 2-3 days away from playing, but manager Bob Geren clarified in today’s media chat that it’s primarily the throwing aspect that is holding Chavez back from playing third. “Eric’s arm is still not quite ready to play third, but he can swing,” Geren said. I didn’t get a chance to grab Chavez before he went out to stretch to get his reaction to all of this.
Chavez has made exactly one major league appearance at first, and that came in 2001, when he started at third and made a mid-game switch. But Geren said he had no problem sticking Chavez there. “He’s a Gold Glove fielder.”
Think Geren is desperately trying to scrape together some offense? He could have played Bobby Crosby or Hannahan at third, and let the other one play first, but with Giambi and Nomar Garciaparra out, the A’s need some thunder in there (not that Chavez and his .100 average have created much thunder so far).
Back when spring training started, would you have guessed that Bobby Crosby, Landon Powell and Eric Chavez would have seen time at first base??? But the bigger concern here is Giambi’s status. I didn’t talk to him either before stretch, as there was no indication he was hurting. Geren said he was hopeful Giambi could play in tomorrow afternoon’s game. If not, he wouldn’t rule out Chavez playing more first base(interesting note: Geren talked with Chavez during one game earlier this season about moving to first if the A’s had tied the score).
Geren was emphatic in saying there are no plans to shift Chavez to first on a full-time basis.
While you’re digesting all of this, some other tidbits:
–Eric Patterson, freshly arrived from Sacramento, draws the start today at second base.
–Brett Anderson had his left index finger taped, but said his blister shouldn’t keep him from making his next start Sunday. He also had a blister form on the hand last year, and didn’t miss any time.
–Geren said he’d try to avoid using Santiago Casilla at all costs today. He’s officially day to day with a sore right calf, and the promotion of Kevin Cameron gives the A’s six healthy relievers.
–Weather update: The tarp is on the field here at Rangers Ballpark right now, but it doesn’t appear to be raining at the moment. And to my understanding, there’s no heavy showers in tonight’s forecast.
Here’s the A’s lineup: Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Cust DH; Holliday LF; Chavez 1B; Suzuki C; Buck RF; Crosby 3B; Patterson 2B; Outman P.
For the Rangers, still without slugger Josh Hamilton, who’s out with sore ribs: Kinsler 2B; Byrd CF; Young 3B; Jones LF; Blalock DH; Cruz RF; Davis 1B; Saltalamacchia C; Andrus SS; Padilla P.