2009 MLB American League West Notebook
Oh where oh where is Eric Chavez these days? Why where else would he be -- the disabled list. In a career that looked Hall of Fame-esque in his early years, the veteran Oakland third baseman is just trying to finish a season where can play at least 100 games.
That's been a problem lately. Injuries have robbed him from the last two seasons. In 2007, he played in only 90 games. In 2008, he was limited to just 23.
Chavez is back on the DL with shoulder, neck and elbow problems. They have held him to just eight games and 30 at bats. Chavez recently told the Oakland media that he was feeling better and was going to start batting practice as early as May 8.
Tha A's can't get him back fast enough with an offense that continues to spiral and be non-productive. Oakland is last in the American League in runs scored with 112.
First baseman Chris Davis has dangerously turned into the ultimate all-or-nothing hitter. That actually personifies the Rangers offense this year.
The powerful left-handed hitting Davis is in the top 10 in the American League in home runs with seven. In fact, he hit the game-winning two-run home run May 4 in Seattle. However, Davis has the dubious honor of leading all of baseball in striking out.
Through his first 27 games, Davis has struck out an alarming 44 times over 95 at-bats. That's 46 percent of the time. Whoa! At this rate, he would be on target to blow up the major league strikeout record of 204 set by Arizona's Mark Reynolds last year. Davis is projected to fan 262 times while hitting 42 home runs.
For the Rangers, they have to hope that the former comes down and latter proves to be true. Manager Ron Washington has Davis hitting 8th in the order, but it may come to a point that if this trend does continue, Davis could either platoon or be shipped back to Triple A.
The Angels are getting closer to having their rotation at full strength. Right-hander John Lackey (elbow) had a strong first rehab start on May 6 and may need one more to determine if he is ready.
Right-hander Ervin Santana (elbow) also threw well in his first rehab start on May 5. Like Lackey, he may also need another quality start to convince the front office that he can be back with the team.
Right-hander Dustin Moseley (elbow) threw a bullpen session and reported no problems. However, he will likely need a rehab assignment before the Angels determine if he is ready to join them. That's probably another 2-3 weeks away.
As for outfielder Vladimir Guerrero (chest), he was cleared to start doing baseball activities earlier this week. Should he perform well -- it's unclear if he will go on a rehab assignment -- he could be back in the next 2-3 weeks.
If it wasn't for Kansas City's Zack Greinke having such an incredible season, many people would be talking about the start left-hander Erik Bedard is enjoying.
After struggling with injuries in 2008, Bedard has settled in nicely as the No. 2 pitcher in this rotation behind Felix Hernandez. Bedard is second to Greinke in ERA at 2.37, sixth in strikeouts (39) and regaining the form that made him arguably the American League's toughest left-hander.
Bedard has gone six or more innings in four of his first six starts. And he's not walking anyone either. He's surrendered just six thus far.It would just be nice if the Mariners could score for him. They've only produced 19 runs in those starts, barely three per game.
By Kevin Lonnquist
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