07/09/2003 7:26 PM ET
Giambi named to AL All-Star team
First baseman replaces Mike Sweeney on roster
Rosters: AL | NL
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Jason Giambi is headed to Chicago after all.
Giambi, who fell short in his bid to become the 32nd man on the
American League All-Star team via the etopps All-Star Final Vote, was named to
replace Mike Sweeney on Wednesday, as the Royals first baseman is
unable to take part in the festivities due to a back injury.
"I feel sorry for Mike, because he's a real good friend of mine,"
Giambi said. "But I'm definitely excited to go."
For Giambi, this will be his fourth consecutive All-Star appearance,
having started the games in 2000 and 2002. Giambi got his first All-Star
hit last season in Milwaukee, going 1-for-2. Yankees manager Joe Torre
informed Giambi of the news before Wednesday's 6-2 win over Cleveland.
"He congratulated me before the game," Giambi said. "It was great news
"I think it's great," Torre said. "I know he's thrilled."
Giambi, who won last season's Home Run Derby during the All-Star week
in Milwaukee, said that he plans to take a shot at back-to-back crowns.
"If they ask me to, definitely. I'd love to try to defend my title,"
Giambi said. "I love it. I think it's a good time, and the fans love it."
Giambi does not have an All-Star bonus built into his Yankees contract,
but he will receive an incentive bonus from some of his endorsers, most
Toronto's Carlos Delgado was voted in as the AL's starting first
baseman, while Sweeney was selected as a reserve. Sweeney will still attend
the All-Star activities, but will not participate.
"I knew he was hurt, but Frank Thomas was available also," Giambi said.
"It's exciting, especially after the slow start I had. I've been
working hard, so it's gratifying."
Giambi is batting .264 with 23 home runs and 65 RBIs through Wednesday.
He battled an eye infection throughout May, but bounced back with a
huge June, winning the AL Player of the Month award for the fourth time in
Giambi batted .373 (31-for-83) in 27 games in June, hitting 11 home
runs and driving in 29 runs. The first baseman also led the AL with an
.819 slugging percentage and a .554 on-base percentage, and tied for the
league lead with 27 runs scored.
"With that eye infection, I sputtered for about three weeks," Giambi
said recently. "I could see, it just wasn't crisp. I was having trouble
with off-speed pitches. The way they pitch me, I don't get fastballs
down the middle anymore. Now, I'm taking consistent at-bats again and
hitting the ball hard."
Giambi leads the American League in walks with 73, 12 more than
Chicago's Frank Thomas. He also ranks among the league leaders in home runs
(second, behind only Delgado), RBIs (sixth) and on-base percentage
(.419, fourth in the AL).
Giambi has homered once every 13 at-bats this season, the second-best
ratio in the AL. Only Delgado has gone deep more often, homering once
every 11.6 at-bats.
Mark Feinsand is a
reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major
League Baseball or its clubs.