Torre thinks he'll hit during playoffs

Originally Published: September 22, 2004
Associated Press

New York Yankees: Joe Torre hopes Jason Giambi, who has fought to overcome a benign tumor and other ailments, can be his team's designated hitter in the postseason -- if not in the first round, perhaps in the league championship series if New York advances.

Giambi, who didn't start Wednesday against left-hander Ted Lilly, is batting .212 with 12 homers and 39 RBIs.

"I don't need him back all the way," Torre said. "Even if he's like 80 percent, he's still going to be better than a lot of players. So I just need to see some consistency. I think last night was a big step, not the fact that he hit a home run, but the fact that he hit a home run to left-center field. That's not easy to do, to drive the ball. For a left-handed hitter, that's a long way to go."

If Giambi is the designated hitter in the playoffs, Torre said he will look at matchups each game before deciding whether to start Bernie Williams or Kenny Lofton in center field.

Boston Red Sox: Shortstop Orlando Cabrera was back in the starting lineup after missing two games to be with his wife, who had surgery in Colombia.

Cabrera was batting eighth for Boston against Baltimore.

"He called me this morning and said he was back," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "He said he appreciated that we let him go, and would be glad if [we] would put him in the lineup."

Cabrera, acquired in a four-team, eight-player deal that sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs on July 31, is hitting .286 with four homers and 22 RBIs with the Red Sox. He missed the first two games of a four-game set against Baltimore after playing in 46 straight since the trade.

Boston gave no details about the surgery.

Chicago Cubs: Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who had been out since Sept. 11 with a strained groin, returned to the starting lineup.

Garciaparra thinks the injury is related to the Achilles tendon injury that bothered him throughout the first half of the season with the Boston Red Sox. He was batting .298 in 31 games with the Cubs before his latest injury.

Manager Dusty Baker said he probably won't start Garciaparra on Thursday because he doesn't want him playing a day game after a night game so soon after returning.

Garciaparra is expected to start Friday night in New York against the Mets.

Oakland Athletics: The A's will switch affiliates in the Class A California League after signing a four-year deal with the Stockton Ports.

Stockton replaces Modesto as the A's affiliate in the league. The new agreement begins Oct. 1 and runs through the 2008 season. For the past two seasons, Stockton was an affiliate of the Texas Rangers.

The Ports will move into a new ballpark next season, which is currently under construction on the North Shore of Stockton's Deep Water Channel.

The A's other affiliates are Triple-A Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League, Double-A Midland of the Texas League, Class A Kane County of the Midwest League, Class A Vancouver of the Northwest League, and a team in the Arizona rookie league.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press