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Diamondbacks' Chavez hangs 'em up

Eric Chavez announced his retirement as a player Wednesday.
Eric Chavez announced his retirement as a player Wednesday.
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The mind wanted to continue but the body, more likely the left knee, simply said, “no can do.”

In the end, Diamondbacks’ infielder Eric Chavez gave in to a chronic knee injury, which hampered his performance on the field but not his spirits in the clubhouse.

On Wednesday, Chavez said “good-bye” to his playing days in a baseball uniform and the Diamondbacks scheduled a news conference at 4 p.m. Pacific time Thursday afternoon to make the formal announcement.

In his brief stay with Arizona, Chavez was the consummate role player. With his desire was to give Chavez more playing time, manager Kirk Gibson was clearly cognizant of his protracted injury.

Placed on the disabled list with a sprained knee on June 8, Chavez began a rehabilitation period but by the recent All-Star break, the Diamondbacks recognized the severity of his knee. At that point, the medical staff shut down any progress to help Chavez return to the playing field this season.

While his uniform number 12 hung neatly in his locker, Chavez was no longer a regular in the clubhouse, and his son Diego, so prevalently in having catches with players and roaming the clubhouse with his glove and bat in hand, disappeared as well.

For parts of two seasons with the Diamondbacks, Chavez was never 100 percent healthy. Last season, he went on the disabled with a minor right oblique tear from May 31 to June 28 and landed back on the DL from Aug. 10 to Aug. 26 with a strained left knee. Still, he knocked in 44 runs on just 64 hits. His .281 batting average for 2013 closely monitored his career average of .268 for 17 major league seasons.

A first round selection (10th overall) of Oakland in 1996, Chavez played 13 years with the A’s, two with the New York Yankees and his final two with the Diamondbacks.

One of the best fielders all-time at third base, Chavez won six Gold Gloves and his fielding percentage is third best in that position in the history of the game. In all, teams in which Chavez played qualified for post-season play seven times and he left the game with 316 career doubles, 24 triples, 266 home runs and 902 RBIs.

Though injury-plagued a year ago, and he appeared in 80 of the Diamondbacks’ 162 games, Gibson wanted Chavez back for 2014. In fact, the D-backs gave him more money. For 2013, he signed a one-year deal at $3 million, and for this year, the Diamondbacks and Chavez settled on another one-year contract worth $3.5 million.

With his retirement on Thursday, Chavez leaves $1 million behind and could have collected the entire $3.5 mil amount had he remained on the disabled list.

Yet, his conscience was too strong.

Because he was unable to perform, Chavez told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that he could not take the money and not play. Still, figures estimate Chavez made $83 million throughout is career and may have a future in the game.

Chavez is expected to elaborate on his future plans during the Thursday news conference.

MAKE WAY FOR THE GANG FROM THE STEEL CITY

The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field from their recent 3-3 road trip and begin a 10-game home stand.

First in are the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On Thursday night at 6:40 p.m., right-hander Josh Collmenter (8-5, 4.03 ERA) faces lefty Jeff Locke (2-2, 3.54).

On Friday night at 6:40 p.m., lefty Vidal Nuno (0-2, 3.47) opposes right-hander Edinson Volquez (8-7, 3.87). On Saturday night at 5:10, it’s right-hander Chase Anderson (6-4. 3.34) taking on righty Vance Worley (4-1, 2.54). This is also Zombie bobble-head give-away night.

For Sunday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-8, 5.59) takes on lefty Francisco Liriano (3-7, 3.97).

Some numbers to consider.

On Thursday, Collmenter has not faced enough Pittsburgh hitters to record any numbers. Martin Prado is 2-for-8 (.250) against Locke, Aaron Hill is 1-6 and Paul Goldschmidt is 4-for-6.

On Friday, Goldschmidt is 7-14 (.500, one home run) against Volquez while Hill is 1-14, Miguel Montero is 4-21 and Gerardo Parra is 3-for-18 (.167).

On Saturday, Goldschmidt is 2-for-7 against Worley, Prado is 2-for-8 and Montero is 1-for-6.

For Sunday, Travis Snider is 2-for-10 against Cahill. Against Liriano, Mark Trumbo is 3-for-14 (.214) and one home run.

After the Pirates, the home stand continues with three against the Kansas City Royals and three more against the Colorado Rockies.