Geren says Chavez to miss Japan trip
Athletics send infielder to Minor League camp to rehab back
PHOENIX -- A's third baseman Eric Chavez, who underwent offseason back surgery and hasn't played in any Cactus League games this spring, was officially ruled out for Oakland's March 19-26 trip to Japan for a season-opening series against the world champion Red Sox.
"That's the big news of the day," A's manager Bob Geren said after a split-squad edition of his club pounded the visiting Giants on Saturday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. "He's going to stay here and focus on getting ready."
Chavez, who flew to Los Angeles on Wednesday to see a back specialist and had been holding out hope that his condition would improve enough to allow him to serve as Oakland's designated hitter in Japan, said his trip to Southern California resulted in "nothing new, nothing we didn't already know."
Chavez has been taking batting practice on the field, but the six-time Golf Glove winner still isn't taking ground balls, so the A's will leave him behind for work at the club's Minor League complex while they're in the Far East.
"He just isn't ready to play yet," said Geren said.
Geren said Chavez might participate in Minor League games while the A's are gone, but he wouldn't speculate as to how long he expects Chavez to be out, now that's it's been confirmed that he won't be ready to open the season.
"We'll monitor him daily," Geren said. "When he's ready to play, he'll play."
Geren also said that outfield prospect Carlos Gonzalez, who strained his right hamstring earlier this week, has been told that he won't be going to Japan, either.
Chavez, who has a week-old daughter at home, had already left Phoenix Muni by the time Geren made his announcement.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.