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D-backs playing it safe with Chavez's hip

SAN FRANCISCO -- Eric Chavez's ailing hip has improved to the point where the D-backs think he can play, but the club is being cautious to prevent an aggravation.

Chavez has not played a full game since July 8 with right hip stiffness, but has been available to pinch-hit most of the time since suffering the injury. He drew an RBI walk against Milwaukee on July 13 and entered Friday's 2-0 loss to the Giants as a pinch-hitter before a pitching change prompted his removal before facing a pitch.

"It's been 12 or 13 days now, so we're just trying to get further from it," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's good to pinch-hit."

Gibson added that Chavez could start, but that the club doesn't want to risk needing to remove him early in a game if the hip stiffened again.

Chavez missed most of June with a right oblique strain and is batting .226 in 31 at-bats since returning from the disabled list June 29. Gibson said the club is still mindful of the oblique injury.

"If [an oblique] scars, it's not flexible," Gibson said. "We don't want him to be out for a while."

Andrew Owens is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @OwensAndrew.
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