Virus knocks Yankee for a loop

NEW YORK -- Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi looked so bad
when he got to Yankee Stadium on Sunday that manager Joe Torre sent him to a hospital.

Giambi, battling the aftereffects of a stomach virus, took two
bottles of intravenous fluids during the opener of the Yankees'
day-night doubleheader sweep of the New York Mets.

"I was miserable for two weeks," said Giambi, who thinks he
originally caught the virus from teammate Gary Sheffield. "My eyes
were glazed over and I was kind of not feeling right. I was just in
la-la land the whole time."

Giambi has one hit in his last 14 at-bats and is in a 13-for-65
skid. His average has dropped from .271 on June 7 to .237.

With the antibiotics he received Sunday, Giambi felt much better
and believes he'd be able to play in Tuesday's opener of a
three-game series against the Boston Red Sox, who won six of seven
games against New York in April.

Kevin Brown, however, won't be ready to pitch against Boston on
Thursday, and his spot in the rotation will be filled by rookie
Brad Halsey.

Recovering from a back spasm that forced him out of a start June
9, Brown threw his second bullpen session of his rehabilitation
Sunday night.

"He just didn't have the life he had last time out," Yankees
manager Joe Torre said. "The physical part of it is fine. He's
just not there, yet."

Javier Vazquez (8-5) is to pitch Tuesday against Derek Lowe (6-6), followed by Jon Lieber (5-5) on Wednesday against Tim
Wakefield (4-5). Halsey (1-1), who beat Los Angeles in his major
league debut and was hit hard by the Mets in Saturday's 9-3 loss,
has no easy task. He will be opposed by three-time Cy Young Award
winner Pedro Martinez (8-3).

Also, Gary Sheffield, fighting bursitis in his right shoulder, returned to the outfield in Sunday night's game but might have a second cortisone shot -- he had one last Monday. He was 2-for-6 with
two RBIs in the doubleheader until he was ejected in the fourth inning by plate umpire Bill Hohn for arguing a checked swing on a strikeout.