Sunday, February 22, 2009

Athletics Seeking Backup for Ailing Eric Chavez?

Talks reportedly taking place between the Athletics and oft-injured free agent infielder Nomar Garciaparra may tell as much about the health of third baseman Eric Chavez as Garciaparra.

Though Chavez, 31, has been fielding third base grounders, he has not been cleared to make a single throw to first base since undergoing the second of his two shoulder surgeries six months ago. It remains unclear whether the A's will need to find a backup, either a part-timer like Garciaparra, or a full-time replacement such as free agent Orlando Cabrera.

Though Chavez has been hinting that he will be ready to take the field by opening day, the fact that he has chosen to sit out the first week of spring games points toward a more uncertain outcome. Having also undergone two invasive spinal procedures, Chavez ability to play a 162-game schedule appears highly remote.

Garciaparra, 35, who moved from his familiar shortstop position to corner infield positions for the Dodgers, has had a similarly dismal health outlook after it became known that he has been kept off the field in part by a hereditary condition that causes his body to build up excessive scar tissue.

Garciaparra claims he can play, however, and in addition to the Athletics, the Phillies and Twins reportedly have expressed an interest in the former Boston Red Sox No. 1 pick.