Chavez grinning and bearing the pain

Chavez grinning and bearing the pain

ARLINGTON -- The way Eric Chavez saw it before Tuesday's game, he and the A's would have had two options Wednesday.

One represented significant hope. The other would stab hope in the eye with a knitting needle.

Chavez hasn't played since Friday; he's been dealing with right elbow pain that he's certain is the product of his most recent shoulder surgery.

"If I'm in the lineup [Wednesday], I'm fine," Chavez said before the opener of a three-game series at Rangers Ballpark. "If not, I'll be going back [to the Bay Area for tests]."

What happened during the game, however, changed everything. Infielders Nomar Garciaparra and Mark Ellis suffered calf injuries that are expected to land them on the disabled list Wednesday, so Chavez isn't going anywhere.

"We're going to be more patient with him due to the circumstances tonight," said A's manager Bob Geren.

Chavez did some throwing before and during batting practice Tuesday, and he also took quite a few swings, even yanking a few pitches over the outfield wall. Chavez was fairly pleased, but he's been through this too many times to get overly excited about one workout.

"It was all right," he said. "I was probably gonna be another two or three days [away from playing], anyway ... even if everything was perfect."

A Bay Area newspaper over the weekend reported that Chavez strained the elbow while making a long throw in Friday's game, but Chavez said he felt pain in the joint last week in New York.

"My arm angle has kind of been slowly dropping because of the shoulder, and that puts stress on the elbow," he explained. "It's been going on for about a week, actually, in terms of it hurting. But my angle's been dropping for a while."

The injuries to Garciaparra and Ellis represent something of a reprieve for reserve infielder Jack Hannahan, who started a team-high 106 games at the hot corner while Chavez was out last season.

Going into Tuesday's game, he was essentially Oakland's No. 4 option at third, behind Chavez, Garciaparra and Bobby Crosby. Now, he's The Man.

Down to six relievers for the series in the wake of their decision to start Josh Outman on Wednesday, the A's likely will add an arm from Triple-A Sacramento in addition to an infielder (or two).

The top relief candidates are right-handers Chris Schroder, who had a 1.86 ERA in seven appearances for the River Cats through Monday, and Kevin Cameron (3.27 ERA in eight outings).

The candidates among Sacramento middle infielders include Eric Patterson, who was batting .333 through Monday but is more of a utility-type. Former No. 1 pick Cliff Pennington and Gregorio Petit are stronger than Patterson defensively, but they're both batting below .250.

"We're gonna talk about personnel here shortly," said Geren, who was chatting with assistant general manager David Forst before meeting with the media after Tuesday's game.

One thing Geren was not doing was eating. His club's mounting injuries had robbed him of his appetite.

"Normally, after a game, I'm starving," he said. "Not tonight."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.