Oakland A's Notes: Chavez Super-Utilityman?

After nearly a decade of stability at the hot corner, the Oakland A's have been struggling to find a permanent solution at third base since Eric Chavez began struggling with injuries in 2007. The team is hopeful that recent acquisition Kevin Kouzmanoff will provide that stability. Chavez is still working on his return from injury, however, which could create an interesting scenario for him in 2010

With the acquisition of third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, what happens to six-time Gold Glove winner Eric Chavez?

Chavez said that if he is healthy after two back surgeries and three shoulder surgeries, he will be a utility player.

"I've always been open to playing anywhere," Chavez told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"I've taken a lot of pride in being the best third baseman I can be, but I've never felt that third base is what I have to be."

Kouzmanoff told reporters that Chavez has long been one of his favorite players, and Chavez told the newspaper that when Kouzmanoff was a rookie, Chavez gave him one of his jerseys.

Chavez said that the plan is that he will fill in for Kouzmanoff once or twice a week, possibly DH once or twice a week, play first base now and then, and perhaps even play shortstop once a week. Chavez was drafted as a shortstop, and if he's entirely healthy, he doesn't see why he couldn't handle the spot.

"Everything is predicated on my health," Chavez told the Chronicle.

"Right now, all I want is to get on the field. My goal is just to make it through the season, and Kouzmanoff is helping me do that.

"Everyone thinks this is a big insult thing, but it's not -- this will help me."

The A's don't have a clear-cut backup shortstop on their roster, so Chavez would wind up being an interesting option at that position.

Desme's Retirement

A's outfield prospect Grant Desme, the Arizona Fall League MVP, surprised everyone when he informed the team that he was retiring in order to study for the priesthood. Desme, 23, was expected to play at Double-A Midland this season and was slated to report to his first big-league camp next month. Desme will enter St. Michael's Abbey in Orange County as a seminarian in August.

Desme hit 42 homeruns in 2009 between the regular season and the Arizona Fall League. He was the only 30 homer-40 stolen base player in professional baseball in 2009.

"He was right on the verge of fame and fortune and glamour, and he's denying all that. He's going in a totally different direction. Grant said it was a very powerful call, and that's much more important," Oakland A's Director of Player Development Keith Lippman said.

Roster News and Notes

--LHP Gio Gonzalez might have the inside track for Oakland's fifth starter job. Manager Bob Geren described Gonzalez as having "the best stuff" on the staff at a recent media event. The fifth spot is likely to be a battle between Gonzalez and RHP Vince Mazzaro; both made starts for Oakland last season.

--RHP Joey Devine continues to make excellent progress after season-ending Tommy John surgery in April. Manager Bob Geren expects that the reliever will be ready to pitch in the big leagues by opening day, give or take a week. The team will limit his innings during the spring.

--OF Ryan Sweeney said he has spent most of the off-season resting, at the A's behest, following minor knee trouble last season. Sweeney will be in right field, with Coco Crisp in center and Rajai Davis in left, according to manager Bob Geren.

Oakland Clubhouse Top Stories