The Arizona Diamondbacks placed third baseman Eric Chavez on the 15-day disabled list with strained right oblique muscle, the team announced on Friday. Arizona activated Willie Bloomquist off the DL to take Chavez's spot on the roster.
Chavez injured his oblique Thursday night against the Texas Rangers. The third baseman swung-and-missed at two pitches from Rangers starter Justin Grimm, then took of his helmet and walked towards the dugout. Cliff Pennington came in to replace Chavez in the lineup.
The veteran underwent an MRI following the game, which revealed the extent of the injury. Chavez joins second baseman Aaron Hill as key contributors currently on the Diamondbacks disabled list.
The third baseman had swung the bat remarkably well for Arizona, hitting .325/.368/.588 in 126 plate appearances this season. Chavez revived his career last season as a part-time player with the New York Yankees, hitting .281/.348/.493 in 313 plate appearances. 2012 marked the first season that Chavez had been above-average at the plate since 2006, when he played top-flight third base for the Oakland Athletics.
Numerous injuries and general ineffectiveness plagued Chavez after the 2007 season, as he only appeared in 122 games at the major league level between 2008 and 2011. The third baseman struggled to produce offensively when he did manage to play, and lacked his previous skill on the defensive end.
The Yankees did a good job maximizing Chavez's value to the team last season while limiting his starts to help keep him healthy. Chavez only started 56 games in the field last season, including 6 starts at first base. New York gave Chavez extra at-bats at the team's designated hitter, a luxury the Diamondbacks did not have.
The Diamondbacks had already started Chavez 27 times at third base this season, as the injuries to Bloomquist and Hill limited their flexibility. Chavez has also been one of the best hitters for Arizona this season, which made removing his name from the lineup an unattractive option for manager Kirk Gibson
With Chavez out, Martin Prado is likely to slide over from second base to third base, with Bloomquist taking over for Prado at second base. Pennington can also be expected to receive more at-bats because of the Chavez injury.