Oakland's Chavez, Kotsay, Buck out for remainder of season
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics lost three players for the remainder of the season Friday -- six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez, center fielder Mark Kotsay and rookie outfielder Travis Buck.
Chavez will undergo surgery on his troublesome right shoulder on Wednesday to repair his labrum, then doctors turn their focus to his back problems. Chavez has been bothered by shoulder problems for about two years and he debated having an operation after the 2005 season. But he has been on the disabled list since Aug. 3 with lower back spasms.
"At this point in the season, we felt like getting him started on something he needed to give him maximum time to get ready for next year, to get him strong and healthy," manager Bob Geren said before the A's opened a weekend series with the Detroit Tigers. "It didn't look like he was going to play the rest of the year."
Buck also will have an operation Sept. 10 to tighten a loose ligament in his right elbow, to be performed by noted orthopedist Lewis Yocum. He has been on the disabled list since Aug. 20 with a strained left hamstring. Earlier this year, he was on the DL from June 28 to July 14 with a sprained right thumb.
"Despite the desires of all three players to get back on the field in 2007, we, as an organization, feel it is important for them to begin the healing process and to break the cycle of injuries that have plagued the A's in 2007," general manager Billy Beane said. "What is most important for Eric, Mark and Travis is that they start to look forward to a healthy 2008."
The 29-year-old Chavez has won six straight AL Gold Gloves, despite playing much of last season with pain in his forearms and was limited to 137 games because of various injuries.
He batted a career-low .240 this season with 15 home runs and 46 RBIs. In 2006, he hit .241, second worst among all AL qualifiers, and his 100 strikeouts were his third most in parts of nine big league seasons. He still hit 22 home runs to reach the 20-homer mark for the seventh straight year, but his 72 RBIs were his fewest during that span.
He committed six errors this year, one more than last year -- after making 15 in 2005. He is one of just six third basemen in major league history to win six or more Gold Gloves, and one of three to do so in the AL, joining Brooks Robinson (16) and Buddy Bell (6).
Kotsay began the 2007 campaign on the DL following back surgery March 8 during spring training. He returned June 1, then was sidelined again Aug. 17 with lower back spasms. He batted .214 with one home run and 20 RBIs.
Kotsay will wait until the soreness in his back subsides before he begins a strengthening program and rehabilitation. He hopes to get a head start adding strength to his back -- something he couldn't physically do in the past few offseasons -- will help him be fully healthy to play a complete season in 2008 and participate in all of spring training.
"You've got to look forward and how this will get me strong and playing from the beginning of next year," Kotsay said. "For me, I'll accept the fact this was a terrible year and move forward."
Buck, the team's opening day right fielder, hit .288 with seven homers and 34 RBIs.
"As much as I want to play and they want me to play, this is the right move," Buck said.
The A's have used an Oakland-record and a majors-leading 51 players this season and have used the disabled list 22 times, tying an Oakland record set in 1992. The 22 players on the DL have combined to miss 1,039 games this season. Nine players are currently on the DL.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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