A's Chavez shooting for 2010 return

SEATTLE -- Eric Chavez has spent most of the last two, injury-plagued years trying to rejoin the Oakland Athletics.

This week, he finally got the A's to join him instead -- in Seattle.

The six-time Gold Glove third baseman has been in the Pacific Northwest this month beginning rehabilitation from his latest back surgery with a noted therapist. The longest tenured Athletics player -- the 31-year-old made his debut in 1998 -- was in Oakland's clubhouse before all three games of his team's series against the Mariners.

He said his 3-week-old rehab from his latest back surgery is going well, and that he will try to return to play third base again next spring training.

"I'll try to get in great shape, roll the dice and see what happens," Chavez said.

If his back is unable to withstand playing the field following two back surgeries and three shoulder operations in the last two years, Chavez said he will try to be a designated hitter "to try and extend my career a couple years."

He ruled out a potential switch to first base, saying all his back troubles have been from bending over but not from swinging a bat or twisting.

He sat in the dugout during Monday's game, then felt pain in his back for the rest of the night. Standing is a better option right now.

He had his second back operation, the same microdiscectomy surgery in a different spot, to correct a herniated disk on June 23. That ended his 2009 season; he appeared in just eight games and batted .100. He played in only 23 games in 2008, and 90 in '07.

"My recovery was really hard. It was really hard," Chavez said Wednesday, smiling as usual and looking fit in street clothes as his teammates began batting practice behind him. "It was really painful. The first one, I don't remember it being that painful.

"Last year, I had a lot of optimism. ... This year, I'm more realistic about what I have ahead of me."

The second back surgery, to correct a herniated disk, was his fifth operation overall since Sept. 5, 2007. He also had three shoulder surgeries.

His throwing shoulder still bothers him.

"Some days, it's just lousy," he said. "Just feels like garbage."

One thing that's given him a lift: the birth, three weeks ago, of his third child, son Cruz.

"He's good, real good," Dad said. "We're all real good."