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Eric Chavez: Habitual bat-borrower

New York Yankees Eric Chavez hits a second-inning,

New York Yankees Eric Chavez hits a second-inning, two-run, home run against the Chicago White Sox. (July 1, 2012) Credit: AP

Eric Chavez is most certainly down with OPB.

No, we didn’t mistype “OBP” (on-base percentage or On-Base Perception – although, who knows, he could be a fan). We’re talking about Other People’s Bats.

Bat-sharing is fairly common throughout the big leagues, but it’s pretty well known that many – if not most – baseball players are quite particular about their equipment. Not Chavez. The fickle third baseman said Friday night that he switches bats constantly and borrows from teammates all the time, though he has stuck with Andruw Jones’ lumber the last two months.

“It just feels comfortable,” Chavez said after the Yankees’ 6-3 win over the Mariners. He went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer. “It’s lighter [than mine] and it just feels good to me.”

Then he admitted… “But I’d use [Nick Swisher’s] if they felt good to me. I switch bats all the time. I’ve done it my whole career. Some guys can’t use a bat unless it’s got their name on it. I’ll pick up anything.”

Swisher, whose locker is adjacent, turned and reminded him of the time he bought bats off the rack.

“Yeah,” Chavez said, nodding. “I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and bought some bats and I used those.”

Chavez, who has become a starter with Alex Rodriguez out with a broken hand, is hitting .269 with 10 homers and 24 RBIs. His home run Friday night made him the ninth Yankee this season to reach double-figures. He also has a .332 OBP, if you’re wondering.

Another quirk discussed was his habit of writing notes to himself on his gear. The television broadcast Friday night pointed out writing on Chavez’s shoes and batting gloves; scribbled hitting pointers, reminders to keep his head down and his front leg stiff, among other things.

“I do it everywhere,” he said. “I’ll write them inside a hat. I just like jotting down notes because you never know. Maybe you’ll come across something that will remind you of something helpful.”

Even rudimentary stuff that, surely, has become second nature?

“Sometimes you forget basic fundamentals,” Chavez explained. “You hear when hitters struggle they say, ‘Get back to the basics.’ So sometimes I need a reminder of that.”

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