Notes: Chavez returns to lineup

Notes: Chavez returns to lineup

OAKLAND -- One thing that the struggling A's offense did not need was one of its most productive hitters to be out of the lineup.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what they got upon their return from their four-game road trip that opened the second half of the season.

After coming home from Minnesota, the lower back stiffness that has affected third baseman Eric Chavez off and on this season reared its ugly head and forced him to the bench.

But a night after Orioles starter Erik Bedard held Oakland to one run on one hit for seven innings during a 6-1 loss, the A's were happy to put his name back on the lineup card on Saturday.

Chavez was at his usual defensive position, and batting fifth in the lineup.

"He had a pretty good workout yesterday," A's manager Bob Geren said. "He came into today and said he's ready to go."

Prior to Friday's game, Chavez fielded ground balls, took batting practice and did some running. He came back Saturday and reported no problems.

Chavez had not played on the homestand, sitting out the three-game series with Texas and then missing Friday's series opener with Baltimore.

His last game came on Sunday in Minnesota, where he hit a home run. He had three hits in that four-game series, two of them homers.

Chavez is hitting .245 on the year with 15 home runs and ranks third among third basemen in the American League with a .974 fielding percentage.

Swisher gets a day to heal: A day after jamming his shoulder into the outfield wall trying to make a diving catch, Nick Swisher was not in the starting lineup on Saturday.

"He's OK, he's a little tight from running into the wall," Geren said. "He could have probably played if I needed him to, but it's good to get him a day off. He's fine."

Swisher gave chase, and nearly got to, a Brian Roberts double in the gap in left-center field and in his effort, he slid into the wall and jammed his shoulder.

He stayed in the game, batted in the sixth inning, walked, then was removed after the seventh as Travis Buck came into the game.

Geren said that his neck and trapezius area around his shoulder were a little stiff.

Piazza, Cust in the same lineup: For the first time this season, the A's will have perhaps their two biggest boppers when Mike Piazza and Jack Cust were both in the starting lineup on Saturday.

Cust, who was signed after Piazza got hurt, has hit 16 home runs since joining the team in early May and has asserted himself as a regular player.

Piazza, who came off the disabled list on Friday after missing 2 1/2 months with a shoulder injury, was batting cleanup. He has 420 career home runs.

Street tosses rehab inning: Huston Street was in Sacramento on Saturday night making a rehab appearance. He was scheduled to throw an inning or 20 pitches, whichever came first, with the Rivercats.

Street started the game against the Salt Lake Bees, tossing 20 pitches in his one inning of work, 15 of them for strikes.

He got a battle from leadoff hitter Tommy Murphy, using nine pitches to finally strike him out. He then took one pitch to retire Curtis Pride on a grounder. He gave up an infield single to Terry Evans, before striking out Gregory Porter to end the inning.

Up next: A's lefty Dallas Braden (1-4, 6.07 ERA) will be opposed by Baltimore righty Daniel Cabrera (5-3, 3.06 ERA) in the final game of a three-game series on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PT.

Matt Smith is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.