Giambi was in the lineup for the first time since May 21, and
was the designated hitter in place of the ailing Gary Sheffield.
"It was exciting," Giambi said. "I was champing at the bit to
Sheffield, the Yankees' regular right fielder, had been limited to a designated hitter role the last three games because of a stomach
flu, but his symptoms worsened Sunday and he was unavailable. He
had played in every game this season for New York since signing as
a free agent in December and was hitting .304 with eight homers and
"Sheffield is sick -- he's out of play for us today. ... His
wife had to drive him to the ballpark. He's real under the
weather," Yankees manager Joe Torre said before the game.
Torre said Giambi would have played first base if Sheffield was healthy, even in Sunday's chilly and wet conditions. Tony Clark
started at first instead.
Giambi said his timing was off in his first few at-bats: fly to
left, strikeout and grounder to first. But he got comfortable as
the game went on.
While sitting on the bench during the eighth inning, Giambi
overheard his manager talking to pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre
about taking starter Mussina out after the inning.
"The one thing I knew was it would give Moose a chance to pitch the ninth," Giambi said.
Giambi went on the disabled list for the first time in his
10-year career May 22, a day after twisting his ankle rounding
first in the ninth inning of a 9-7 loss to the Texas Rangers.
Giambi had offseason left knee surgery and has been hampered recently by several injuries. He missed three games in mid-May with back spasms and also has had hip and leg problems.
"I was starting to feel really good. I wasn't getting treatment
on my hip or my back," he said before the game. "That was the
most discouraging because I was finally feeling where I wanted to
A career .302 hitter, he played with an injured knee much of
last season and slumped to a .250 average, but still had 41 homers
and 107 RBIs. And he hit just .237 with four homers and six RBIs
during the postseason, getting only one RBI during the World
Series, when he took himself out of the lineup for Game 5 because
of the knee.
To make room for Giambi, the Yankees sent outfielder Bubba Crosby to Triple-A Columbus and kept right-handed reliever Bret Prinz on the roster, despite having several position players out
with nagging injuries.
But Prinz has impressed Torre since he struggled during spring training. He hasn't given up a run in five appearances over seven innings. He has made two appearances since being recalled from Columbus on June 2, when Lofton went on the DL, and earned his first win of the season Wednesday with 1 2-3 scoreless innings.
"The one thing we kept coming back to was Bret Prinz," Torre
said of the decision to send Crosby down. "When he came up, I told
him he was here until Giambi is back. He's still here. (Sunday) I
told him he earned it."
With Jeter out and Wilson only available as a pinch hitter,
Bernie Williams batted leadoff for the first time since April 16,
1996, at Milwaukee and went 3-for-4, including a fourth-inning
"When I looked and saw who we had, with (Gary) Sheffield out, it was a matter of getting our best bats at the top of the
lineup," Torre said. "He seemed to like it."