Chavez on DL; McLemore primary replacement

Updated: June 3, 2004, 11:01 PM ET news services

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez is expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks with a broken bone in his right hand and was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.

Eric Chavez
Third Base
Oakland Athletics
49 13 35 34 4 .246

Chavez was hurt in the 11th inning of Oakland's 6-4, 12-inning win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday after getting hit by a pitch from Damaso Marte.

Infielder Esteban German was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to take Chavez's roster spot.

"I don't know if I felt worse for myself or the team," said Chavez, who hopes to have the splint removed from his hand June 21. "In this case, time's all you've got. ... I don't even want to guess. Hopefully it heals quick and I'll be ready to go."

Chavez has a broken fifth metacarpal, right above his pinkie and ring finger. According to trainer Larry Davis, it was a "clean" break, meaning Chavez won't need surgery to have a pin installed in the hand. He will have periodic X-rays while he recovers.

Davis expects the three-time Gold Glover will need a rehab assignment, probably at Triple-A. The fracture will take about three weeks to heal, then Chavez will need another few weeks to get his strength back.

Chavez was batting .246 with a team-leading 13 home runs and 35 RBI. He signed a six-year contract extension worth $66 million during spring training, the biggest deal in franchise history.

"Any good baseball team needs to adjust," outfielder Eric Byrnes said. "It will be a challenging time for us. But we have 24 others who can help us win. There's no doubt the loss of Chavy will have an effect. We've got to make do. We just have to keep going."

Marte got ahead of Chavez 0-2 and then threw one inside pitch before hitting Chavez on the back of the hand. Chavez screamed in pain and grabbed his hand.

"I didn't think anything was wrong," Chavez said. "I thought it might be a bruise and I'd miss a few games."

The 26-year-old Chavez said his hand didn't swell overnight but he had a hard time sleeping. He's never broken a bone before in his career.

The A's are already without starting second baseman Mark Ellis, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

"For the first time in about two years, I didn't sleep very well," general manager Billy Beane said. "We've lost two critical members of our infield in the course of a year."

Beane said he didn't expect to sign someone from outside the organization. The A's are strong at third base in the minor leagues, but those players are at Double-A and below and not yet ready to make the jump to the majors.

Veteran utilityman Mark McLemore will be the primary starter at third, but he is recovering from knee surgery and probably can't play every day.

"It'll be up to me to keep him well enough to go out there four to five days a week," manager Ken Macha said.

German batted .331 with a homer and 20 RBI in 33 games at Triple-A.