CHICAGO — Before opening a three-game series with the Cubs on Friday, the Diamondbacks placed third baseman Eric Chavez on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique, clearing the way for infielder Willie Bloomquist to return from the DL.
Bloomquist, 35, had been out since late in spring training with a similar oblique injury. He played four rehab games with Triple-A Reno, going 7-for-15 with four runs scored, a triple and eight RBI.
Bloomquist was slated to play with Reno again Thursday night but the D-backs summoned him to Chicago. He arrived around 3 a.m. Friday, prompting D-backs manager Kirk Gibson to keep him out of the day’s lineup.
“I would have played him today had he got here at a reasonable hour, but he got here at three, so that’s not smart (as a manager),” Gibson said. “I’ll use him off the bench if I have to, but we’ll give him a day to get acclimated to what’s going on.”
Bloomquist said he feels 100 percent and isn’t concerned about re-aggravating his injury after being tested plenty in extended spring training and with Reno.
“I’ve been feeling good for the last week to 10 days or so,” Bloomquist said. “I played at 100 percent, played just like a normal game. I didn’t have any hesitations or limitations when I was playing down there. I feel like I’m ready to go.”
Chavez, who suffered his injury in the first inning of a loss to the Rangers on Thursday, has been a surprise spark for the D-backs so far. In 38 games, he is hitting .325 with seven doubles, seven home runs, 25 RBI and a .368 on-base percentage. He was hitting .394 since April 28.
How long he’ll be out is still unclear, and Gibson said Chavez would get an MRI in Phoenix on Friday.
The D-backs considered waiting to make a move with Chavez but ultimately opted against it with Bloomquist ready to return.
“We’re not going to play short-handed,” Gibson said. “Willie was close, so he’s ready to go. He’s been playing a lot in extended and then he went to Reno and he’s played three games there or so. So he’s ready to go.”
Chavez, 35, has a well-documented history of injuries dating back to his days with the Oakland Athletics. From 2007 to 2011 he averaged just 42 games per season as he dealt with back, shoulder, neck, elbow and foot injuries. He missed 598 games over five seasons but missed just 10 games due to injuries with the Yankees last season.
With Chavez out, Gibson put slumping catcher Miguel Montero into the cleanup spot behind first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. An offensive uptick from Montero would be significant for the D-backs.
“We’ve got to get somebody going,” Gibson said. “Somebody’s got to hit behind Goldy. Somebody’s got to take responsibility. (Montero has) done a great job for us, so there’s no reason he can’t today.”