Giambi expecting to be activated in September
Indians slugger playing role of leader since going on the disabled list in June
NEW YORK -- Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi either has the best job in baseball or the worst one. For the past two months, the aging slugger has remained in the locker room, while residing on the disabled list with a knee issue that is no longer of much concern.
The 43-year-old Giambi has willingly embraced his role as a clubhouse leader and accepted his place on the DL in order to help Cleveland better manage its roster. With the season now into August, Giambi is not expecting to be activated until rosters expand beyond the 25-man limit on Sept. 1.
"I'm moving around fine. I feel good," Giambi said on Friday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. "But, unless something happens, I'm going to probably assume it'll be in September."
Indians manager Terry Francona said Giambi's activation might come sooner.
"It could be before September," Francona said. "But, that'd be at the latest. I'd love to get him back sooner, just because I'd like to look out for him, but we'll see. I know it's tough, but the good thing is he has handled it really well."
Giambi, who has been shelved since June 12 with what the club described as left knee inflammation, admitted that his situation has indeed been hard at times. After 20 seasons in the Majors, though, the DH and pinch-hitter understands he can still help the team without stepping into the batter's box.
"It's tough. It's tough sitting," said Giambi, who has hit .128 with two home runs in 47 at-bats this season. "But, at the same time, that's why I came here, to help the kids and help us go through our ups and downs. It's been going good. Actually, it's been easier to help the guys, because I don't have to worry about pinch-hitting.
"It's easier to help them with their game plans during the game and after the game, things like that. I'm just kind of waiting for my time. I've got plenty to do, so it's not like I'm sitting doing nothing. That's what happens when you don't play a spot anymore. That makes it tough. But, I'm not worried about it. Whatever works best for the team."
Giambi is, however, looking forward to stepping to the plate again for Cleveland.
"It'd be fun. It'd be exciting," he said. "But the biggest thing is, I need to help these guys now or September isn't going to mean anything. That's my most important role right now. That's what my approach is."