Chavez Continues To Struggle With Injury

The hope was that Eric Chavez would feel well enough to take swings in the batting cage Thursday. The A's third baseman has been sidelined with lower back problems for a week.

However, the A's third baseman was again held out of all baseball activity as his sore lower back continued to give him problems. Eric Chavez missed his seventh consecutive start Thursday night, and he has only started three of the past 17 games.

"I've had back problems before and recovered from them quickly," he said. "This one's a little puzzling."

The A's chances of crawling back into the American League West picture would be extremely slim even with Chavez, but missing his defense and power in the middle of the lineup makes things tougher.

Chavez did not sound encouraged about returning to the lineup anytime soon.

"It just hasn't really gone as planned," he said.

But the A's still have not considered putting him on the disabled list, at least not publicly.

Other Notes:

--RHP Esteban Loaiza pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings Wednesday night in his first rehab start for Class AAA Sacramento. Loaiza, who is recovering from right knee surgery, was frustrated at what he felt was confusion regarding his pitch count for the game, but the outing nonetheless was a positive sign that he's on track to return to the Oakland rotation soon.

--2B Mark Ellis homered for the second straight game and established a career high with 14 homers. That ties him for second on the Oakland single-season list for homers by a second baseman. Davey Lopes holds the record with 16 in 1983.

--RHP Chad Gaudin went six innings, giving up seven hits and five runs, and lost his fourth straight decision in a 6-4 loss to the Angels. He was victimized by two homers from Vladimir Guerrero. "It's just a couple breaks you know? A couple bad breaks, which happens when you're in a rut," Gaudin said. "Sometime it's got to turn around."

--SS Donnie Murphy continues to impress while filling in for injured Bobby Crosby. Murphy smacked his second career homer in the ninth inning Thursday against the Angels. It was his first since July 20, 2005, spanning 46 games. Murphy spent much of the past two seasons in the minors.

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