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Chavez battles command, but strives to improve

PHOENIX -- The command issues that have plagued much of Jesse Chavez's big league career were back on display in his Cactus League debut on Saturday, but the right-hander is on a mission to thwart them moving forward.

The A's right-hander, awarded the first start of the preseason, walked two Brewers batters in as many innings and also gave up a home run to Ryan Braun in a 2-1 loss to Milwaukee at Maryvale.

"I thought his command wasn't where it should be," manager Bob Melvin acknowledged. "He was behind some guys, and gives up the one run, but probably got out of some innings that he doesn't need to get himself into."

The 29-year-old Chavez, acquired last August by the A's for cash considerations, faced a handful of pressure spots upon his arrival and allowed seven runs in 3 1/3 innings spanning four relief appearances with Oakland -- amounting to an 18.90 ERA and .474 opponents' average.

But the A's showed faith in Chavez by keeping on the roster amidst a constant wave of transactions this winter, a gesture that boosted the right-hander's confidence.

"The way the last couple offseasons have gone, it's kind of heartwarming, really," he said. "I knew where I was going to be, so it was just a very comfortable offseason. Being comfortable in the clubhouse is probably the biggest key. You can't go out there and perform when you're thinking about those things.

"I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable. They welcomed me with open arms when I got here. That's always something you look forward to, having them accept you as a person and not just a player, because they already like you as a player."

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