"Obviously, the more at-bats you can get, you can help out your team," Chavez
said. "I've been pretty fortunate to stay healthy, and that's pretty much
what any player wants -- to stay healthy throughout a whole year. I've had
some little nagging injuries, but I've still gotten out there every game."
The streak seems even more important for Oakland considering the number of
players that have landed on the disabled list this season. Nick Swisher,
Rich Harden, Bobby Crosby, Erubiel Durazo, Octavio Dotel, Kiko Calero and
Chad Bradford have all spent time on the DL.
"I understand that certain things happen, and sometimes you're not in control
of certain injuries," Chavez said.
That includes the broken right hand that Chavez suffered last year that limited him to
just 125 games played. That broke a string of four seasons in which Chavez
appeared in at least 151 games.
After the injury, he worked hard to regain the level of durability he showed from 2000-03.
"Most of us nowadays spend so much time in the offseason in the gym, working
out, getting ourselves ready for the duration of the season," he said.
While Oakland has seen Swisher, Harden and Crosby return from their respective injuries, its
record has improved from 15 games under .500 to just one game away from the
break-even mark entering Tuesday's game.
Chavez has been the team's offensive leader, though, pacing Oakland with
11 homers and 46 RBIs through his first 81 games.
Something different: If Oakland manager Ken Macha could plan an ideal
roadtrip, he might just cancel any flights headed east. Instead, the A's
skipper will alter the team's pregame routine to try and shake off any
remaining East Coast jitters.
No players will be allowed inside the Oakland clubhouse until 1 p.m. PT
before Wednesday's game at the Rogers Centre. Why the late start? Macha
quickly points out the team's performance during the second game of series
on the road against East teams.
"We played very poorly in every second game," Macha said. "In Tampa Bay, the
second game -- not good. Yankee Stadium, second game -- not good. So, I'm
trying something different."
Macha might be on to something. On the road against the Orioles, Devil Rays,
Yankees, Red Sox and Nationals, the A's have gone 1-5 in the second game of
each series. The May 7 loss to the Yankees led to an eight-game losing
It might be safe to point out that the second game hasn't been the only
problem in those series. Oakland is 0-9 in its last three East Coast trips
-- Washington, Tampa Bay and Boston all swept the A's.
Asked whether the rule applied to his coaching staff as well, Macha smiled
and said, "I don't have any control over my coaches. I'll be here before
Welcome back to Canada: Canadian Rich Harden -- originally from
Victoria, British Columbia -- was welcomed by a crowd of media members when
he stepped onto the Rogers Centre turf.
Harden, who has gone 3-0 since returning from a strained left oblique
muscle, was greeted with questions about his recent success and maybe
joining the Canadian team in next year's baseball World Cup.
"Yeah, I'm pretty excited for it so far," Harden said. "A chance to
represent Canada, it doesn't get much better than that. I've never had an
opportunity to do that. ... I think it'd be cool, definitely, to play with
Larry Walker -- a guy you watched growing up."
Harden's manager spent some time reminiscing before Tuesday's game about his
playing days with Toronto in 1981.
"All the players I was here with and stuff like that, you still run into
them from time to time," Macha said. "When you were going through that in
'81, well, you're not a very good team, but you look back at it and you had
fun, and they were good guys to be playing with."
Quotable: "They're being phenomenal. They don't have to be this good,
but if we can find a happy medium -- we were really bad, now we're really good
-- if we could just find that middle ground and be a consistent ball team,
then who knows what we're playing for?" -- Chavez, on the resurgence of the
On deck: Oakland sends righty Joe Blanton (5-6, 4.48 ERA) to the mound to
face left-hander Ted Lilly (6-8, 5.89 ERA) in the second game of a three-game
set in Toronto.