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Camp Notes: Chavez Kick-Starting The Season
Chavez does like his process so far, which basically means relates to staying back and letting his hands do the work. Through Tuesday's game, Chavez has four homeruns for the spring.
"It's where I want it to be," Chavez said. "I just want to keep it there for longer periods of time. I know it will leave me once in a while, but I just want to keep it right there." Early in spring training, the A's new hitting coach Gerald Perry asked Chavez, "Where is your leg kick?" Chavez explained that he doesn't use it until the regular season, once he's gotten his timing down.
"He goes, 'How do you expect to get your timing if you're not using what you're going to use in the (real) games?'" Chavez said. "He said, 'I'd rather you incorporate your leg kick in the spring and go 0-for-30 and get ready for Opening Day.'"
Chavez watched a DVD of his at-bats in the off-season. The biggest difference between April and August was from the waist down. "My hands are good, I have good wrists," Chavez said. "When I use my legs too much, it slows my hands down and makes my swing longer. I just have take my legs out of the equation. Use them for balance and not really for everything."
Chavez hit .194 last April and, for his career, he has a 795 OPS in April, his second worst month (May is the worst). The A's have been a slow-starting team for much of Chavez's tenure in Oakland, something that could easily change with a hot start from the team's best hitter.
-- The A's held a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning versus San Diego, but for the second straight day, they let that lead slip away. Prospect Shane Komine had his first poor outing of the spring, allowing five runs on five hits (two homers) in one inning of work. He earned the loss, as the A's were unable to score in the top of the ninth and fell to the Padres 6-5.
-- Barry Zito had his best start of the spring, tossing four innings and allowing only one run on three hits. He walked two and struck out four.
-- Kirk Saarloos, Justin Duchscherer and Randy Keisler all worked an inning each and didn't allow a hit between them. Duchscherer issued a walk for the only runner against the A's bullpen before Komine entered in the 8th.
-- Mark Kotsay returned to the line-up after missing a few days with a sore throat. He walked twice.
-- Milton Bradley stole his second base of the spring and catcher Jason Kendall threw out Padres' centerfielder Mike Cameron trying to steal second.
-- Bobby Crosby started the game at shortstop for only the second time this spring. He responded with a big day at the plate, going 2-3 with his third homer of the spring and three RBI. Jay Payton also collected two hits.
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