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Yankee expects to make full recovery

TAMPA, Fla. -- Jason Giambi expects to make a full recovery from health problems that have slowed him this summer and is confident he will return to the New York Yankees' lineup before the end of the season.

The four-time All-Star declined to discuss details of his condition or the benign tumor found in an undisclosed location of his body last month, but did say it was not related to an intestinal parasite the Yankees diagnosed earlier in the year.

"It's been a pretty traumatic experience," Giambi said during a news conference at Legends Field, the club's spring training home.

He also said his condition is "absolutely not" related to steroids.

"And that's about all I can really say about that," Giambi said.

"The biggest thing is I'm going to recover 100 percent. ... I
don't want to get into the specifics. That's something I'm going to
deal with with my family. I'm excited to get down here, get back
playing again, getting a chance to start over. It's been a tough
two months."

Giambi was cleared medically to resume baseball activities on
Tuesday, when he arrived in Tampa to begin working himself back into
playing shape. The slugger spent about 90 minutes in the weight
room before meeting with reporters, and he plans to begin swinging
a bat early next week.

The first baseman, who has felt weak for most of the season, has
not played since July 23. The Yankees at first diagnosed him with
the intestinal parasite, then said July 30 that he had a benign
tumor, without disclosing where it was located.

Giambi has been working out and throwing occasionally for about
two weeks. Now that he's in Tampa, he's on a daily schedule
designed to build the strength and endurance necessary to be a
productive everyday player.

There's no definitive timetable for his return.

"My goal is to be back on the field before the end of the year.
There's no doubt about that. It's going to be how quick my body
bounces back," Giambi said.

"I also want to be the player I can be. I don't want to just be
a body like I was before out there. It was nice to see your name in
the lineup. But when you're a player that people are expecting big
things from -- and I expect them from myself also -- that's what I
need to be."

Giambi conceded it was scary not knowing what was ailing him.
Still, he continued to play.

"I felt like a lab rat during those times. ... The not knowing,
that was the worst part of it. You start to go, 'Why am I not
getting better?"' he said.

"It eventually came to a point where I just wasn't helping the
team. I wasn't being the Jason Giambi I can be. That's what the New
York Yankees signed me to be. I want to be that guy."

Giambi had difficulty keeping food down for much of June and
July. Before he was put on the disabled list, he was hitless in 21
consecutive at-bats, dropping his average to .221. He has 11 homers
and 36 RBI after batting .250 with 41 homers and 107 RBI last
season.