Alejo can't supervise Giambi workouts

Updated: March 3, 2004, 5:23 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Pounds aren't the only thing Jason Giambi has lost.

The New York Yankees won't rehire his personal trainer, meaning Bobby Alejo cannot travel on team charters this season and can't supervise Giambi's pregame and postgame workouts in ballparks.

Following commissioner Bud Selig's decision last month to enforce rules restricting clubhouse access, Giambi expressed hope that an arrangement could be worked out.

"I think Jason is hopeful there is some avenue to work through," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday. "I just don't sense where there is one right now."

Giambi, who credits eliminating junk food for his noticeably slimmer physique this spring, had finished practice and left the clubhouse while Cashman spoke with reporters.

"I am talking to Brian Cashman, and I'm going to continue to talk to him," said Giambi's agent, Arn Tellem.

Tellem wouldn't detail his discussions with the general manager. In the past, Giambi has credited Alejo for his preparation. Alejo was the strength and conditioning coach of the Oakland Athletics and followed Giambi to New York for the 2002 season.

That first year, the Yankees listed him as a batting practice pitcher. Last season, he was off the team payroll but still had access to the charters and ballpark weight rooms. While he was banned from the clubhouse early in the season, he was granted access by the end.

Cashman said rehiring Alejo was not an option.

"The problem is if I do something like that, then I'm going to get a lot more requests to hire people, and I don't want to be in that position, either," Cashman said.

Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office, said any hirings would be looked at on a case-by-base basis to determine if they were attempts to circumvent Selig's directive, issued in the wake of an indictment charging Barry Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, with illegally distributing steroids.

Anderson has pleaded not guilty. Bonds and Giambi testified before the grand jury, as did Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield, and all three denied using steroids.

Bonds had hoped his other trainer, Harvey Shields, would still have clubhouse access, but San Francisco Giants owner Peter Magowan said last weekend that his team would not allow any personal trainers into team facilities.

Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa wants his personal assistant to stay around his team. Julian Martinez was hired by the Cubs star in 2001 to help Sosa do chores and often plays catch with him.

"You are talking about two different scenarios here," Sosa said. "He's not a personal trainer. He's pretty much similar to a coach. I don't think it has to be a big issue."

Cubs officials are confident they can work out an agreement to everyone's satisfaction, perhaps allowing Martinez to pitch batting practice, get out of uniform and then man a radar gun in the stands during games. Martinez currently has his own uniform and has access to the dugout during games.

Yankees manager Joe Torre and general partner Stephen Swindal have started talks about a two-year contract extension, and the sides could complete a deal before Opening Day. Torre's current deal expires after this season and following praise from owner George Steinbrenner, Torre has been more open in the past month to managing beyond 2004. ... 3B Alex Rodriguez and SS Derek Jeter will not make the trip to Clearwater for Thursday's spring training opener. ... CF Bernie Williams hopes to recover from last week's appendectomy in time for opening day, but Cashman isn't sure whether Williams will be game ready. ... The Yankees added Sunday's game against the Red Sox in Fort Myers to their television schedule.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press