Eric Chavez goes on DL with neck spasms, his return unknown

A quick update here before Game 2 of the Bay Bridge Series …

The A’s activated Mark Ellis from the DL and placed Eric Chavez on the DL with neck spasms. Here’s the essentials on Chavez:

He’s been told he has two bulging discs in his neck, and he gets pain on both sides. The injury dates back to spring training, when he collided with a teammate during a drill. He’s dealt with pain all season but kept it pretty quiet, even as he was getting regular treatment from trainers and chiropractors. “I knew I was dealing with something,” Chavez said. “I just didn’t know exactly what it was. But I didn’t want to know, to be honest with you. I never wanted to know. That’s why I never went to go see a doctor.”

He’s going home to Phoenix to rehab and there’s no timeframe for his return. We haven’t gotten a chance to talk to the A’s training staff yet (not sure if we will today). Manager Bob Geren said he didn’t know if this injury was potentially season-ending. But Chavez said during the winter that he’d retire if he suffered another major injury. Could this be that serious? “It might be,” Chavez said.

It’s definitely affected his hitting. Chavez said he often had trouble stopping his swing once he started. That might help explain why he’s looked so fooled on off-speed pitches at times.

This is only the latest in a string of well-chronicled injuries for Chavez, who hasn’t played a full season since 2006. He’s had five surgeries (two on his back, two on his right shoulder and one on his left shoulder). He said his spirits are OK, but he acknowledged it’s discouraging dealing with yet another physical setback.
“I almost wish I could say it was my back or it was my shoulder,” he said. “But when it’s something new, it’s just like, ‘What are you gonna do?’ But my spirits, I’m fine.”

Geren said Jack Cust would assume the regular DH duties, though Jake Fox, Kurt Suzuki (when he’s not catching) or a backup outfielder could see action there. … Ellis is playing second base and hitting sixth, by the way …

Joe Stiglich