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Giambi: could return in 2 weeks

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Giambi: could return in 2 weeks

Postby The Big Train » Sun Jul 22, 2007 3:54 am

Eh, not convinced he'll be effective once he returns but I guess he might still be worth stashing...

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi took batting practice Saturday for the first time since hurting his left foot and is hoping to rejoin the team by early next month.

"Maybe a little sooner just depending on how fast things go,'' Giambi said after a two-hour workout. "I have no pain. That's going to be the biggest part. Everything is great so far.''

Giambi has been sidelined since May 30 after tearing tissue in the foot. He took 20 swings in a batting cage and could start hitting on the field in the next few days.

The designated hitter is also running in the outfield and playing catch.

Giambi is hitting .262 with seven homers and 23 RBIs. His foot began bothering him soon after he played the field for the first time on April 28, and he hit .117 in May with three homers and six RBIs. ... ambi.0158/

One reporter's commentary...


NEW YORK -- Slowly but surely, one rehab day at a time, Jason Giambi is working his way back to the Yankees, baggage and all. He's about two weeks away from recovering from a torn plantar fascia, which means the Yankees are almost face to face with a problem they assumed had been back-burned until 2008.

The problem, of course, is Giambi himself, who met with George Mitchell's steroids investigators Friday. The slugger is believed to have confessed to juicing over the last few years, and now it's up to Bud Selig to decide what to do with Giambi's testimony.

The commissioner, who ordered Giambi to meet with investigators, may still hand down a fine or suspension if he thinks the slugger hasn't been truthful enough. Even if Giambi goes unpunished, he still slogs into the Yankee clubhouse with his reputation permanently soiled.

It's not a pretty picture, even if the Yankee hierarchy says it has no comment on Giambi's legal problems. Instead, they're more concerned with Giambi's return to the lineup and what to do with an aging, bases-clogging hitter who wasn't supposed to be a factor again this year.

Giambi's foot injury – ironically, the same one that sidelined Mark McGwire in the Nineties – was the face-saving alternative for all parties. Without Giambi, the Yankees turned to the younger, more athletic Melky Cabrera, while resting Johnny Damon's legs as the DH. Meanwhile, no one had to answer any questions about steroids.

Giambi was better off, too, no longer having to explain the precipitous decline in his batting average. And, more importantly, being on the disabled list kept Giambi away from reporters, around whom he had the unbreakable habit of opening his mouth.

It was Giambi's interview with USA Today that ignited the most recent firestorm with the commissioner's office. In it, Giambi said, "I was wrong for doing that stuff. What we should have done a long time ago was stand up -- players, ownership, everybody -- and said, 'We made a mistake.' "

That remark, however honest, provoked an intense reaction from Selig and Yankee officials both. The commissioner felt Giambi was pointing the finger at him directly, and reacted with a naked threat: cooperate with Mitchell or face a suspension. And the Yankees, who have no jurisdiction in enforcing the steroids policy, took similar offense that Giambi cast such a wide net of blame.

"If he feels so bad about all this, he should return the money he's been making all these years," is how one insider put it. "I guess it wasn't all that bad of a mistake if he's keeping his salary."

Given the thinly veiled animosity, why would Giambi even bother coming back this year? Obviously he cares. In fact, it says something about Giambi's perseverance. In contrast to Carl Pavano, who all but stole $40 million from the Yankees while hiding on the disabled list, Giambi is the most ethical man in pinstripes.

But surely he knows the Yankees are a leaner, more versatile team with Cabrera and a rested Damon. If Giambi is shoe-horned back into the lineup, Cabrera will lose at-bats, Damon will return to center – where he may or may not be able to stand up to the everyday pounding – and the Yankees will still be just as vulnerable to left-handed starting pitching.

As one Yankee veteran said on Wednesday night, "What we really need here is a healthy Gary Sheffield – or somebody like that." The idea of adding another left-handed bat doesn't necessarily help the Bombers, who've lost 15 of 24 games against lefty starters this year.

Still, it's true that Giambi's return has its perks. He crushes home runs – which Damon certainly doesn't – and he still draws walks. Giambi's days of hitting .300 are apparently over (he hasn't done so since 2002), but with a .380 on-base percentage, he's still capable of generating runs.

One other thing: Giambi sees more than four pitches per plate appearance, which is to say, he turns at-bats into mini-marathons. That's part of the old Yankee formula of wearing out opposing pitchers early in the game.

But there's nothing to suggest that Giambi will still have his long ball muscles, or that he still has that razor-sharp eye after months on the DL. In fact, there's no guarantee Joe Torre will even use Giambi once he returns in early August.

The manager said he intends to put off any decision on a revamped lineup as long as possible because, "you never know what's going to happen between now and then." That's Torre's way of saying he doesn't want to deal with such a blurry picture just yet.

How does Torre even consider benching Cabrera, who took a 13-game hitting streak into Wednesday night's action? How does Torre imagine playing station-to-station ball again with Giambi on the bases? Or, if he does the unthinkable and allows Giambi to return to first base, is Torre ready to burn three players once Giambi draws his customary seventh-inning walk, requires a pinch runner, followed by a defensive replacement?

Torre has enough to worry about keeping the Yankees' mini hot streak alive. He's right: it's better to procrastinate. Life was simpler when Giambi was out of sight, out of mind, out of the way, period. ... FlZUVFeXk2
"Trying to hit him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork." - Willie Stargell on Sandy Koufax
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Re: Giambi: could return in 2 weeks

Postby RedHopeful » Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:25 am

Giambi (plantar fascia) will begin a minor-leage rehab assignment with High-A Tampa on Friday and could return to the Yankee as early as next week, the Associated Press reports.
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