Half of the major league teams train in Arizona, and Giambi is the oldest player out here. Two pitchers in Florida camps, Mariano Rivera of the Yankees and Darren Oliver of the Toronto Blue Jays, are older. Giambi is the dean of the Cactus League. He turned 42 on Jan. 8 — Elvis Presley’s birthday, naturally.
Giambi hopes to make the Indians’ roster as a pinch-hitter and occasional designated hitter, the kind of bench player his old general manager with the Yankees, Brian Cashman, calls a big, hairy monster. Two years ago, Giambi hit 10 home runs in 99 at-bats against right-handers. He still has pop, probably. He definitely has wisdom.
“He’s not a veteran, he’s the veteran,” Manager Terry Francona said. “I’ve already gone to him three or four times asking him questions. He’s solid. Brings a lot.”
Francona and Giambi have something in common: each interviewed for manager’s jobs after last season. Giambi interviewed twice for the job in Colorado, where he played the last four seasons. The Rockies hired Walt Weiss but offered to make Giambi their hitting coach.
He declined, he said, out of respect for Weiss; if the team started slowly, Giambi did not want to be seen as looming in the background, angling for his job. He also wanted to squeeze one more season from a career that stretches to 1995.
“Whenever he does end up retiring, he’s going to have to stay in the game,” said Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies’ shortstop. “Going to the field and being around the guys is something he’s going to miss more than the average person.”
Posted: March 16, 2013 at 11:38 AM | 19 comment(s)
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