Chavez heads to DL with future uncertain
Slugger's career in jeopardy with neck spasms; Ellis activated
OAKLAND -- One of the all-time A's greats may have played his final game with Oakland.
In order to make room for second baseman Mark Ellis, who was activated off the 15-day disabled list Saturday, the A's placed Eric Chavez on the DL.
Chavez said he collided with a second baseman during Spring Training and that he's been battling spasms in his neck ever since.
When asked if he thought his career was over, Chavez said, "It might be. I don't know what my future is going to hold. They've asked for me to go home and get healthy and see what happens."
Ellis, meanwhile, said he was happy to with the big league club after three successful Minor League rehab starts this week.
"It feels good," Ellis said. "We took our time to really rest and heal it and I feel great."
Though his playing days may be over, Chavez said he was still in good spirits Saturday.
Chavez said he has two bulging discs in his neck and that the injury has affected him all season. Chavez said the team had an MRI done two weeks ago, and it revealed the problem.
"I was hoping it would go away," Chavez said. "But every time I would swing a bat, my neck would go in such a bad spasm and it continued to get worse."
Chavez said the injury affected him "tremendously" at the plate, and he recounted a few at-bats in Tampa Bay where he would swing at balls involuntarily.
He said he tried sleeping with a neck brace for two weeks earlier this season, but that it was too uncomfortable.
Chavez also tried getting chiropractic work done at times throughout the season, but the short-term pain relief wasn't enough to get him through more than one game at a time. Chavez said he could have had his neck realigned before every game, but that it was too much trouble.
"I almost wish I could say, 'At least it was my back,' or, 'I wish it was my shoulder,'" Chavez said. "Because then at least it's a history of something, but something new, it's like, what are you going to do?"
Chavez is in the final year of his six-year, $66-million deal and is the longest tenured player on the team. He was drafted by the A's with the 10th overall pick in the 1996 First-Year Player Draft and made his big league debut on Sept. 8, 1998.
Chavez has etched his name among the franchise's best players, ranking second in career doubles (282) and extra-base hits (532) and fourth in runs (730), home runs (230) and RBIs (787).
Chavez played all 13 of his seasons with the A's, recording a .267 batting average over his career. He also won six straight American League Gold Glove Awards at third base from 2001-06.
Chavez said he will likely go back to his home in Arizona on Sunday to rest, ice and treat his neck.
"It is what it is," Chavez said.
Alex Espinoza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.