Surprisingly, I’ve gotten asked more about the status of Endy Chavez this winter than just about any other player. He became pretty popular during his nearly three months on the Mariner roster last year, before wiping out his right knee on June 19 in this ugly collision with Yuniesky Betancourt. (That’s the moment of impact pictured above).
Chavez, who had been playing fairly regularly in left field, tore both his ACL and MCL. He underwent surgery on July 9 — they had to wait nearly three weeks for the swelling to subside — with a prognosis of a nine to 12 month recovery period.
That’s a pretty dire injury for a guy reliant on his speed, like Chavez, who just happened to be at the end of his contract. He is now a free agent, and the Mariners are monitoring him closely, Jack Zduriencik said.
“He’s still rehabbing,” Zduriencik said. “He’s stayed in touch. I’ve talked to his agent, Peter Greenberg. Endy is, the term is ‘ahead of schedule.’ It’s hard to say what that is. I’d say he is working very hard at it. Last year, the prognosis was it wouldn’t be until July he’d be able to come back. I still think that’s up in the air. Endy has a lot of work to do to get to a point he can go out on a field, and even at that, how long does it take to get that knee into a baseball playing condition? It’s an unknown. We’re all pulling for him, because we love him. He’s a great young man. But that has to be addressed, and none of us has the answer.”
I e-mailed Greenberg, the agent, who has a much more optimistic outlook for Chavez. Greenberg noted that Chavez’s wife had their first child, a daughter, in Seattle shortly before he left for Venezuela, and that Endy’s “doing great.” Greenberg says Chavez is currently working out with the Magallanes club in Venezuela — his winter ball team — “and he is ahead of schedule, according to all accounts.”
Adds Greenberg: “What that means as to exactly when he’ll be major-league ready is a bit uncertain still. However, our best guess at this point is that he could be ready by early May (give or take).”
Chavez plans to fly for Seattle during the last week of January for a checkup with Mariner doctors and to work with M’s trainer Rick Griffin for a week.
Greenberg said the Mariners, “as well as many teams”, have shown interest in signing Chavez, and are monitoring his rehab. He added that after Chavez’s time with Griffin, at least two teams want to fly Chavez in to have their doctors check him out.
“At that point, we may very well sign Endy, so he can continue his rehab under the supervision of a club,” Greenberg wrote. “If not, Endy will come to New York, where he has a home and where we know a very good rehab facility close to his home.”
Another Greenberg client (and good friend of Chavez’s), Jose Reyes, is rehabbing at the facility, and they would work out together until spring training.
If Chavez goes that route, he would likely hold a showcase for teams, perhaps towards the middle or end of March, “when we expect Endy to be maybe 90 percent or so.”
Concludes Greenberg in the e-mail: “So for now, it is one step at a time. Endy is doing very well both physically and mentally in Venezuela. He’ll come to Seattle end of January and take it from there. There is also a chance that Endy may even be signed by the time he gets to Seattle as we have had a few clubs ask if we’d entertain a minor-league offer at this time – and we have said we would. If it is interesting enough and Endy likes the situation, he may sign even before the end of this month.”
So there you have the up-to-the-minute word on Endy Chavez. He seemed to be a great guy. The key thing, obviously, will be showing teams that he can still run. If he can do that, he’ll no doubt have a team willing to give him at least a minor-league shot with a spring invite.
(Photo by Associated Press)