Eric Chavez on the DL with neck spasms; career at risk?

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Eric Chavez headshot.jpgIt was only a matter of when. The oft-injured Eric Chavez was placed on
the 15-day disabled list on Saturday with neck spasms, according
to a team press release
.

According to Susan Slusser of the
San Francisco Chronicle, Chavez said an MRI revealed a bulging disc in
his neck
. The injury apparently stems from a collision with a
teammate during a drill in spring training. He has tried to play through
the pain with the help of traction treatment, but as his .234/.276/.333
batting line indicates, he’s done more harm than good at the plate.

With
Coco Crisp finally off the disabled list, Jack Cust figured to take
over as the regular designated hitter, anyway. Cust is batting .333
(7-for-21) with two RBI since being called up from the minors last
Saturday.

Chavez, 32, has talked about retirement many
times
before and even
acknowledged to Slusser on Saturday
that this
could be it.

“I hadn’t thought about it, other than
my goal for the year was not to
be back on the DL. … But it could be. I don’t know.”

Chavez
is currently in the final year of a six-year, $66 million contract. The
Athletics will have to cut him a $3 million check to buy out his $12.5
million option for next season. Not a bad going away present.
 

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.