SEATTLE (AP) -Eric Chavez, the Oakland Athletics' fixture in the middle of the lineup and their six-time Gold Glove third baseman, will miss the next few games with a recurring back injury.
Chavez started Thursday for the first time in four days but manager Bob Geren estimated he will be out for two or three games. Chavez missed his eighth start in 11 games Friday against Seattle.
``Eric's sore. Officially, he's day-to-day. But it will probably be another two-or-three-day-type situation,'' Geren said before Friday night's game.
Geren said there are no plans for further tests on Chavez's back, just that he is on a wait-and-see approach at least until the A's get home Sunday night. Geren said that if Chavez absolutely had to play Friday night, he would.
Oakland entered Friday having won three of four games - all against the top two teams in their division, the Mariners and Los Angeles Angels.
And all of it without ace Rich Harden, who is on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder and most of it without closer Huston Street, who has pitched two innings in two months because of nerve irritation in his arm. Shortstop Bobby Crosby broke his hand while getting hit with a pitch on Tuesday. And now Chavez.
Top setup man Justin Duchscherer recently had season-ending surgery on his right hip, and starter Esteban Loaiza is on an assignment with Oakland's rookie league team in Phoenix rehabilitating injuries to his neck and knee. He hasn't pitched for the A's all season, though he gave up three hits in four innings in his first rehab outing Friday.
Geren said Loaiza has at least one more outing in Arizona before the A's determine his next step.
Harden said his personal doctor told him he needs to strengthen the muscles around his shoulder joint to protect a muscle impingement. Harden is doing body-weight exercises in hopes he can prevent a repeat of the pain that happened when he tried to pitch out of the bullpen late last month, following his return from his first DL stint.
``I came back a little too quick,'' Harden said. ``It's not a serious problem. It's not a surgical problem. It just takes time.''
Harden hopes to throw off flat ground in a few days.
Oakland has had 18 players on the disabled list this season - three more than all last season. It entered Friday four games under .500 (49-53) and 10 games behind the Angels in the AL West.

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