Chavez looks forward to finishing strong

Eric Chavez has been added to the Yankees

Eric Chavez has been added to the Yankees roster. (Credit: AP)

Eric Chavez feels healthy and is expected to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday.

But the backup infielder, who suffered several setbacks in his recovery from a fractured left foot, sighed with a weary smile toward the end of an interview session with reporters late Monday afternoon. "Just hold my breath for the next two months," he said.

Chavez, 33, signed to a minor-league contract before the season, has done a lot of that in recent years.

Chavez, who hit .405 in 17 spring training games and was hitting .303 (10-for-33) in 17 games when he got hurt while legging out a triple May 5 in Detroit, entered the year having played a combined 64 games the previous three seasons.

"When I was rehabbing, it was kind of a roll-your-eyes type of deal," Chavez said. "Frustration for sure when I broke my foot because everything was going so well. I was playing well and I hadn't been playing that well in the last two years, so it was definitely a high level of frustration for me."

That frustration only heightened as he rehabbed at the Yankees' complex in Tampa. First came a battle with kidney stones. Then Chavez's back, which has flared up at other points in his career, started bothering him again. It was then that he said he considered calling it a career.

"Maybe I think with the back issues, it kind of crossed my mind," Chavez said. "But once that happened, I was able to recover from that pretty fast."

His foot took longer to heal than he first thought it would. It eventually did -- but the other issues extended his time on the DL several weeks.

"Finally when my foot was healed is when I started to have some other issues," he said. "So I was probably a week away from that point. It was definitely frustrating for sure."

With Alex Rodriguez at least two weeks away from returning from arthroscopic knee surgery, Chavez's return comes at a good time for Joe Girardi.

Chavez was to meet with team medical personnel Monday night and was expected to be cleared to play. Once that occurs, Girardi said he won't hesitate to put Chavez, who also can play first base, in the lineup. "You very well could see him in there right away," he said.

Girardi said Chavez's return gives him plenty of options. "He gave us a lot of depth at third base and first base when you wanted to give Alex and Tex [Mark Teixeira] maybe a DH day,'' Girardi said, "and he's a pretty potent lefthanded bat . . . So we have missed him and it will be great to get him back."

Chavez said "there's no doubt" this season still can be a successful one for him. "The frustration set in just knowing that this team's obviously a really good team and hopefully is going to make the playoffs," he said. "That's why I'm here. I have a chance to contribute and hopefully, I can still do that."

Notes & quotes: Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless, hitless inning of relief with a strikeout for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last night. The Yankees expect him to be ready by tomorrow but want to see how Soriano, who also pitched Sunday, responds to working in back-to-back games before they consider activating him.

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