Hurler set to make Sunday start

Updated: July 29, 2004, 8:28 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Yankees slugger Jason Giambi was out of the starting lineup for the sixth straight game Thursday night while the team kept waiting for test results to show why he's felt so weak for so long.

"The evaluation is not complete," general manager Brian Cashman said before New York played Baltimore.

The Yankees hoped to get some answers earlier this week after Giambi went through extensive tests at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Diagnosed with an intestinal parasite on June 29, the former AL MVP is batting only .221 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. He's in an 0-for-21 slump.

"It's different levels of doctors in different fields," Cashman said. "It's taken longer, but so be it."

Giambi remained unavailable to play and had not appeared in the Yankees' clubhouse 70 minutes before gametime.

"Until he finds out completely, he's curious, worried," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He's not feeling the way he should. Sure, he's concerned."

Giambi was elected to start at first base for the AL in the All-Star game despite his struggles this season. He didn't start eight straight games around the time of his diagnosis, and has repeatedly said that he's been fatigued.

With Giambi ailing, the Yankees have been in contact with a pair of free-agent first basemen -- Fred McGriff and John Olerud.

McGriff, recently released by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, worked out twice this week at the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa. Cashman said Yankees owner George Steinbrenner reached out to McGriff.

Cashman also spoke to the agent for Olerud, released by the Seattle Mariners. The GM said the Yankees could not put Giambi on the disabled list for the time being, and sign either McGriff or Olerud, "without a certified injury."

The Yankees had encouraging news, however, about their banged-up pitching staff.

Kevin Brown, out since June 9 because a lower back spasm and an intestinal parasite, is set to start Friday night against the Orioles. He is 7-1 with a 4.13 ERA in his first season with the Yankees.

"His mood was elevated," Torre said. "He seems to be ready to do this."

Orlando Hernandez, who left Tuesday night's start after two innings with tightness in his left hamstring, is scheduled to start Sunday against Baltimore.

Also, Mike Mussina will have a bullpen session this weekend, which might lead him to a rehabilitation start. He's been sidelined since July 6 because of a stiff right elbow.

Cashman said it might be two or three weeks before Mussina is ready to rejoin the Yankees.

"Don't put a date on it, let's just let it happen," Mussina said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press