8/16/2014 6:47 P.M. ET
Chavez prepared to help A's in any role
By Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- In his first real opportunity as a regular member of a starting rotation, Jesse Chavez gave the A's the best work of his career. He compiled a 3.44 ERA in 21 turns in the rotation, notching eight victories and 11 quality starts.
The Athletics then acquired Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in a flurry of July trades, relegating Chavez to his accustomed role as a long reliever. But Chavez has remained productive, posting a 1.86 ERA in five relief outings.
"He does a nice job for us whatever role he's in and it's not easy doing that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "... It's not easy to do what he does, and he always keeps a great focus and intensity to him no matter what role he's in."
Chavez's two years in Oakland have been his best. His 3.92 ERA last year was a career-best and also very unlucky as he posted a personal-best 3.01 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), which measures what a pitcher's ERA would be had he gotten league average results on balls in play and league average timing.
He owns a 3.33 ERA entering Saturday night's game due to his ability to handle the nuances of both roles, which means preparing for each game as part of the bullpen the same way he approached his outings as a starter.
"You've just got to prepare yourself the same way, whether it be throwing more breaking balls and offspeed pitches while you're playing catch before batting practice because you really can't get off the mound and throw it as much as you want because you never know as a long reliever when you're going to be needed," Chavez said. "So I think that's the hardest part, being prepared every day."
Injured A's trio continues to make progress
ATLANTA -- Jed Lowrie took some grounders at Turner Field on Friday in an effort to stay in baseball shape after going on the disabled list, but he took precaution not to put any pressure on his fractured right index finger.
"I see him trying to do whatever he can to try to keep himself as close to game-ready as he can without overtaxing the finger," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He just backhanded some balls and kind of rolled them in."
Meanwhile, Melvin had not yet heard how Craig Gentry's batting practice session with Triple-A Sacramento went. Gentry (fractured right hand) was eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 12, but he will obviously take longer as he still needs a rehab assignment before he could return to Oakland.
Melvin also confirmed that Nick Punto (strained right hamstring) is still doing light jogging as he works his way back.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.