Giambi reportedly treated with steroids

Updated: September 3, 2004, 9:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The benign tumor Jason Giambi has been dealing with is in his pituitary gland, according to a report in the New York Daily News that a source within the Yankees has confirmed to ESPN.

The New York DH/first baseman has refused to disclose the location of the tumor; the Daily News cites one of its sources for the story as saying Giambi was afraid that doing so would make him appear guilty by association.

While pituitary tumors have been associated anecdotally with the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormones, no documented studies make the connection, according to Friday's Daily News story.

Giambi testified before the grand jury investigating steroid trafficking by BALCO, the California health supplement company.

Additionally, the treatment for the tumor, which had to be approved by Major League Baseball, involves corticosteroids, a form of steroid that is not performance-enhancing although it would produce a positive result in a drug test. While anabolic steroids help build muscle, corticosteroids break down tissue and are used as an anti-inflammatory.

The Yankees would not confirm the report, spokesman Rick Cerrone and general manager Brian Cashman said. The team released a short statement about the "published speculation" with Giambi's comments.

"While I understand the continuing speculation surrounding the details of my medical condition, I continue to believe that it is a private matter. I appreciate the fact that the media has a job to do, but my focus now is on returning and contributing to this team," Giambi said.

He was not available for further comment before New York played Baltimore on Friday night.

"Our position on his condition is the same as it's been from the beginning. We issued that statement, and other than that, we're not commenting," Cashman said. "We're respecting his right to privacy."

Giambi called Cashman on Friday morning to ask if he could come to the ballpark later than usual because he was attending to a personal matter.

The 2000 AL MVP arrived while the Yankees were taking batting practice. He emerged from the clubhouse shortly after 5 p.m. dressed in workout shorts and he carried a bat toward the indoor cage.

Giambi, who felt weak all season and hasn't played since July 23, is batting just .221 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs, going hitless in his last 21 at-bats. The five-time All-Star has also been slowed by an intestinal parasite, a strained groin and a respiratory infection.

Giambi rejoined his teammates Tuesday for the first time since July 27 and has been taking batting practice all week. He could appear in minor league games soon.

"We'll see over the weekend how much work he can get in and how he feels," manager Joe Torre said.

Torre has said he isn't counting on having Giambi back in the lineup this season, but it's possible he could return in about a week as the designated hitter.

"He's pushing through, which is good," Cashman said. "Hopefully by this weekend, we'll have a pretty good idea whether we have a shot of getting him out within a week on a rehab assignment. Every day, he's getting stronger and adding more reps. He's building his endurance, which is pushing him closer."

Cashman said he doesn't think the story will affect Giambi.

"I don't see how it would. No one is confirming the accuracy or inaccuracy of it. It's just another story," Cashman said.