Yankee plays down risk, tests not yet done

Originally Published: July 27, 2004
ESPN.com news services

Jason Giambi

TORONTO -- The New York Yankees were still waiting for test results Tuesday that could explain why slugger Jason Giambi has been feeling so weak.

A team spokesperson told ESPN that there is no timetable for when Giambi's test results, which might explain why he's been feeling so weak for months, would be released.

"The evaluation is not yet complete. Further information will be provided when it's available," said team spokesman Rick Cerrone, who didn't think anything would be released after Tuesday night's game against Toronto.

Giambi, sidelined earlier this season because of an intestinal parasite, played down a report Monday that he was being checked for a parasite that can cause a potentially fatal condition.

"We're not in a third-world country, so we have medication," Giambi said.

Giambi's trainer, Bob Alejo, told the Newark Star-Ledger that the All-Star first baseman is being tested for a dangerous parasite called entamoeba histolytica.

According to Alejo's account in the newspaper, the parasite can cause a potentially fatal condition called amebiasis and can embed itself in the intestinal lining, making it undetectable except by specific tests.

Giambi met Tuesday with Dr. Scott Hammer, an infectious disease specialist at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

"I want to see what this guy says before we make any decisions," Giambi said Monday before the Yankees' victory in Toronto. "All these tests have been run, and he's going to look them over."

The first baseman was tested for cancer and for HIV in the past week -- both with negative results -- according to the Star-Ledger.

Giambi, 33, missed six of New York's previous seven games. He is hitting just .221 with 11 homers and 36 RBI. The 2000 AL MVP, who did not start in eight straight games from June 26 to July 4 because of the parasite, is in an 0-for-21 slump.

"When I was playing, I was thinking I was just going to gut it out, but I'm obviously not going in that direction," Giambi said. "I feel a little bit better than when I first got diagnosed with it, but it's just not close to the level I want to be at and the team needs me to be at."

Teammate Kevin Brown has been sidelined since June 9 with a lower back spasm and an intestinal parasite, but could return Friday if a bullpen session goes well Wednesday.

"We're just fighting to get back," Giambi said.

Tony Clark started at first base in place of Giambi again on Tuesday night.

Torre said the team was waiting to learn more about Giambi's condition before deciding whether he should return to the DL.

There is concern that the slugger might have to sit out the remainder of the season to rest, the Star-Ledger reported.

"We still don't know anything more than we did two days ago," Torre said. "We'll be getting more of the tests back tomorrow and then we'll leave it to the medical people."

Torre said Giambi still feels weak.

"Jason doesn't feel like doing anything. It's not that he doesn't want to, it's just that he doesn't feel like it," Torre said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.