Yankees expect his return this season

Updated: July 31, 2004, 6:53 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi has been diagnosed with a benign tumor, but is expected to return to the team later this season after undergoing treatment.

Jason Giambi

The Yankees announced Friday night that Giambi was placed on the 15-day disabled list and will be treated immediately. The team, citing privacy issues, declined to divulge where the tumor is or what type of treatment Giambi will undergo.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said he didn't believe surgery would be necessary.

"I'm just glad that the news, even though there's something going on, he can be treated and recover completely," Torre said after the Yankees beat Baltimore 2-1.

Giambi, a former AL MVP, is batting only .221 with 11 home runs and 36 RBI. He's been feeling fatigued virtually all season, and was diagnosed with a parasite on June 29.

He tried to play through it, but began to feel increasingly weaker.

"He went out there and played and did it basically on courage because he didn't have anything in the tank," said Torre, who underwent surgery for prostate cancer at the start of the 1999 season.

Giambi underwent a battery of tests at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center earlier this week to determine what has ailed him.

"The testing has not revealed the presence of any infectious disease," team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon said in a statement. "The Yankees expect that, with appropriate treatment, he will rejoin the team as soon as possible."

General manager Brian Cashman said the tumor is what caused the increasing fatigue and weakness Giambi has experienced.

On Thursday, Cashman said he expected Giambi would be at the ballpark. Later that day, Cashman got a call from the All-Star and they agreed Giambi should stay home and rest.

Cashman said he spoke to Giambi again on Friday, and said the slugger is in good spirits.

"He's obviously happy that he knows what's going on now," Cashman said.

Cashman didn't have an immediate timetable for Giambi to return to the team.

"I don't expect him here this weekend, and we'll take it day to day," he said. "I think the next few days, he'll be treated and we'll see how he's feeling. He has to get his strength back and then we'll take it from there."

Regardless, the team is optimistic that Giambi will be back in the lineup before the end of the regular season.

"From a baseball standpoint, he'll be back playing sooner rather than later," Cashman said. "By all indications, he'll be back with us some time this year."

In a statement released by the team, Giambi said he was glad to finally have an answer as to what has been making him feel so ill.

"I am relieved that they found something that is treatable and I look forward to getting well, coming back strong and helping the Yankees win," he said.

Cashman said the team will recall outfielder Bubba Crosby from Triple-A Columbus to take Giambi's spot on the roster. Crosby hit .194 with two homers and seven RBI in 36 at-bats with the Yankees earlier this season.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press