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
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.