Norris: Chavez's experiences key to current success
ANAHEIM -- A's catcher Derek Norris, who's worked with Jesse Chavez as both a relief pitcher and a starter, said the right-hander's maturity is a key to his success in the latter role.
Chavez, 30, relieved in 189 of his first 191 Major League appearances. In three starts for Oakland this season, Chavez doesn't have a decision, but he has a 1.35 ERA, a .200 opponents' batting average, and has struck out 22 while walking two in 20 innings. The A's have won all his starts, two in extra innings, and Monday's on John Jaso's ninth-inning, two-run homer as a pinch-hitter.
"[Chavez] is a very mature ballplayer," Norris said Tuesday. "He's been through both the positives and the negatives. He's the kind of guy, if you give him four days to get ready, he's going to take full advantage of those four days."
As far as catching him, Norris said, "my opinion is, it's about the same. The obvious difference is, when you start against a team, especially a divisional team you might face three to four times a season, you only have to show part of your game the first couple times they come up, saving something for later. It's OK when you start to give up a run or two.
"As a reliever, you're always going for zeros, and you're only going to face a guy once, so you can throw everything you've got at him then."
Norris reiterated that Chavez's strength is "he's had his ups and downs, the moments when he's struggled, so he can cope with it. And he had a starter's background in the Minor Leagues, so it isn't something totally new for him."