(Don't hurt yourself, dude. Courtesy of MiLB.com)
Eric Chavez, out since early May with a broken foot, is rehabbing along side Rafael Soriano right now in Tampa, and so far it's going well. He had 4 hits the other night for the High-A Tampa Yankees and ran the bases without any issues, and played the field at 3rd last night while picking up another hit.
I don't know exactly what the timetable for his return is, but with each passing game at the Major League level, Chavez is looking like he'll be a more important piece of the puzzle down the stretch. The Yankees' current offensive struggles showed no signs of ending last night, and with A-Rod out, Jorge looking like he needs to be taken behind a barn and shot again, and Joe being contractually obligated to only play Andruw Jones once every 10 days, Chavez will be a welcome addition to the lineup. Small sample sizes be damned, the guy did nothing but hit from the minute he put a jersey on in ST, and was rocking an .834 OPS with twice as many walks as Ks before he hit the DL. You think the offense couldn't use a little of that action right now?
Now it's going to be important that Chavez stay healthy, or at least be used in a way that he has the best chance to stay healthy when he first gets back, but if I'm Joe I'm not looking at him as just some added bench depth at this point. Jorge should be officially on notice that he either needs to get his shit together or he's going to be spending a lot more time on the pine while his ABs go to Chavez. He has completely stopped hitting from both sides of the plate, and a L/R platoon of Chavez and Jones will be more dangerous and probably more productive at this point. And if Chavez isn't having any issues with the body, and continues to produce at the plate once he comes back, I would have no problem making him the full-time DH over Jorge.
And not only that, if Eric is really feeling frisky, I wouldn't mind Joe using him at 3B a couple times a week and plopping Eduardo Nunez on the bench. Nunez has shown he can carry the stick in the Majors, but let's face it, the guy is a complete disaster in the field and will end up costing the Yankees more runs than he would create if he's left out there for the duration of The Horse's DL stint. Last time I checked, Eric Chavez had a closet full of Gold Gloves somewhere in his house. So a better bat in the lineup and a better glove in the field? Yeah, I think that'll work.
The return of Phil Hughes and soon to be returning Rafael Soriano have and will help bolster the Yankees' pitching depth down the stretch and possibly lessen the need for them to make a big deal for an arm before the deadline. With the offense continuing to sputter, the return of Chavez could mean the same thing for the lineup. It's fair to say that the Bombers could definitely use another bat out there right now, and if they can add that bat internally, I'm all for it. He shouldn't be playing every single day, since he is made of glass and all, but Eric Chavez should be used as much as possible when he comes back to help rebound from this recent offensive drought.