Mar 28, 2011, 5:38 PM EDT
After contemplating retirement following four straight injury wrecked seasons Eric Chavez instead signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees and has parlayed a healthy, productive spring training into a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Chavez has hit .405 with a homer and four doubles in 42 at-bats this spring, which is remarkable less for the batting average and more for the fact that he averaged just 77 at-bats for the A’s during the past three seasons.
He’ll serve as the corner infield backup behind third baseman Alex Rodriguez and first baseman Mark Teixeira, while perhaps also seeing a little action at designated hitter in place of Jorge Posada. At this point a part-time role is ideal for Chavez and if healthy he could be an excellent reserve, but “if healthy” stopped meaning much with him years ago.
Chavez will receive $1.5 million upfront for making the team and can earn another $4 million in incentives based on playing time.