D-backs’ Chavez retires at the age of 36, ending 17-year big league career

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Eric Chavez announced his retirement Wednesday, ending his 17-year major league career at the age of 36.

The left-handed hitting infielder, on the disabled list since June 9 because of a sprained left knee, spent 13 seasons with the Oakland Athletics, two with the New York Yankees and was in his second season with Arizona.

Chavez won six AL Gold Gloves from 2001-2006.

In 1,615 career regular-season games, he hit .268 with 260 home runs and 902 RBIs. This season, he hit .246 with three homers and eight RBIs in 69 at-bats.

Chavez appeared in 1,402 games at third base, 21 at first base, five at shortstop and two in left field. He had a career .970 fielding percentage at third base and was the 2002 AL Silver Slugger winner at the position.

He was selected by Oakland in the first round of the 1996 draft out of Mount Carmel High School in San Diego and made his major league debut for the A’s in 1998.

Texas manager Ron Washington was a longtime coach in Oakland and was the Athletics’ infield instructor. He was there when Chavez made his debut as a 20-year-old late in the 1998 season, and for eight more seasons after that.

Chavez later gave Washington one of his Gold Gloves and inscribed it, “Wash, not without you.”

“He had a tremendous career. Eric Chavez was smart, he was a class act and he was a pro, he was great teammate,” Washington said before Wednesday night’s game against the Yankees.

“I was asked one time if I thought Eric could ever win a Gold Glove. I said it was up to Eric if wants to win a Gold Glove. And he won his first Gold Glove, then he won five more, and his back went out. That’s the kind of player he was,” he said. “He had power, he could hit for average, smart on the basepaths. He was good. … He was a special player, he really was.”

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