Third baseman Eric Chavez is on the back fields in the mornings and playing games in the afternoons, doing all of the activities expected of a healthy baseball player in Diamondbacks camp.
And Chavez, after years of struggling to stay on the field, is healthy. But a lot goes into him staying that way, much of it coming from lessons he learned the hard way.
So much has changed, he says, about the way he prepares to do his job. His diet is different. He gets massages and visits a chiropractor. His workout routine has changed drastically. And while he still works hard, he can’t work as hard, can’t push it. Less leads to more.
It all ties into understanding his body and recognizing how he fits in on a major-league roster. All things considered, he thinks he landed in the right place.
“This is the perfect spot for me,” he said.
For years, there were few third basemen in baseball better than Chavez. A five-time Gold Glove winner, he also was dangerous at the plate, averaging 28 homers a year from 2000 to 2006 for the Oakland A’s.
But his body began to betray him during the 2007 season. Most of the next four years were a blur of injuries and surgeries. He had two back surgeries and three shoulder surgeries — two on his right shoulder and one on his left. There were plenty of times he wondered if his career might be over.
Chavez said he needed to leave Oakland in order to “restart everything.”
“They’re always going to see me as the guy who hit 25 and drove in 100,” he said. “Physically, I don’t know if I was ever going to get to that point, just from the fact that I couldn’t get on the field for that many games. I’d always have been under par.”
Diamondbacks’ Eric Chavez eager for chance to ‘restart’
Arizona Republic | Mar 6