Giambi expects to come off DL Sunday

Updated: June 2, 2004, 9:28 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi went 0-for-2 with an intentional walk in his first rehabilitation start for Class-A Tampa on Wednesday night.

Giambi, on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle, is scheduled to play seven innings for Tampa on Thursday night. He expects to be ready to come off the disabled list when he's eligible on Sunday.

"I'm very optimistic," Giambi said. "Everything is good. Everything went well."

Giambi plans to return to New York after Thursday's game and work out with the Yankees on Friday.

Giambi played the field for five innings in the Florida State League game against Dunedin. He made a strong scoop of a throw in the dirt in the third.

"There were no problems getting to the bag, playing defense," Giambi said.

Giambi hit a first-inning grounder, lined out hard to center in the third and was intentionally walked with two on and two outs in the fifth.

Giambi hurt his ankle when he stepped into a hole after rounding first base in the ninth inning of a 9-7 loss to the Texas Rangers on May 21. He's hitting .270 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs.

Former New York hitting coach Rick Down has been named interim manager of the Tampa Yankees. Down was hired as the Yankees' coordinator of minor league instruction in January, several months after being fired from the major league coaching staff.

He is filling in for Billy Masse, who has a hip injury and could be sidelined three to six weeks.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press